April 19, 2007
Omega 3 Fatty Acids Might Slow Alzheimers Disease

A fatty acid found in fish slows tau protein accumulation in genetically modified mice.

Irvine, Calif. — A type of omega-3 fatty acid may slow the growth of two brain lesions that are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, UC Irvine scientists have discovered. The finding suggests that diets rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can help prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

This study with genetically modified mice is the first to show that DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, can slow the accumulation of tau, a protein that leads to the development of neurofibrillary tangles. Such tangles are one of two signature brain lesions of Alzheimer’s disease. DHA also was found to reduce levels of the protein beta amyloid, which can clump in the brain and form plaques, the other Alzheimer’s lesion.

Previous studies have shown that DHA may have therapeutic value for Alzheimer’s patients, but this research is among the first to show that it may delay the onset of the disease. DHA is found in fish, eggs, organ meats, micro-algae, fortified foods and food supplements.

Since fisheries around the world are getting depleted by excessive demand for fish we really need genetically engineered crop plants that contain more omega 3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA (eicosapentanoic acid). Monsanto, Dupont, BASF and other companies are chasing this goal.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2007 April 19 11:04 PM  Aging Diet Brain Studies

John said at April 20, 2007 4:40 PM:

Isolating specific vitamins and essential acids is not a healthy thing to do, as discussed here before. There are probably many more healthy substances in fish besides omega-3.

We need more progress in vat-grown meat. Then we could dispense with the fisheries, slaughterhouses, etc., and produce healthier (not hormone-enhanced) meat efficiently and humanely.

Jake said at April 20, 2007 5:00 PM:

Or use genetically engineered crop plants that contain omega 3 fatty acids as food for fish in fish farms. Thus avoid killing smaller fish to feed larger fish.

Nick said at April 23, 2007 3:27 PM:

Flax seed oil is a pretty good source of EFA's that the body converts into DHA.

Glenn said at April 25, 2007 4:30 PM:

You neglected to mention Martek Biosciences the company that identifyed the algae from which DHA could be
isolated, and then developed and patented the process for doing so and is now the largest supplier of DHA in baby formulas.


I've been taking various products that contain "Neuromins" for about 5 years which is why I know about Martek.

Flaxseed oil and flaxseed meal (Bob's Red Mill) should be part of everyones daily diet

Bob Badour said at April 26, 2007 5:00 AM:


If only flax didn't smell like paint thinner! yuck!

Glenn said at April 28, 2007 9:37 PM:

Yur pullin mah leg, right?? Referin to flaxseed oil's commercial cousin, Linseed oil??

Nick said at April 28, 2007 11:15 PM:

Isn't linseed oil just oxidized flaxseed oil?

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