This nutrient may not reverse Alzheimer's — but it can help prevent it

Volume 13    |   Issue 29

You probably know by now that the best way to avoid Alzheimer's disease is to prevent it in the first place. However, it can be difficult for scientists to determine what the best prevention strategies are because the foundational damage that leads to Alzheimer's can be laid for years before symptoms ever appear. But there's new research that will give you a better idea of where you should focus your prevention efforts.

One of the strategies researchers have investigated is supplementing with DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid. In mice engineered to have Alzheimer's-like characteristics, scientists found that DHA reduces the hallmark beta-amyloid plaques that plague Alzheimer's patients. Human studies haven't found that DHA can decrease existing plaques in people. That doesn't mean DHA can't be effective in preventing these plaques from forming in the first place. And one study recently showed that it can do just that.

The researchers in this study concluded that DHA may slow the development of Alzheimer's disease and could help delay vascular dementia as well. This is likely because DHA affects one of the proteins involved in the formation of the beta-amyloid plaques. It could also help reduce problems with insulin/neurotrophic factor signaling as well as decrease neuroinflammation and the oxidative damage that causes synapses in the brain to die. Even better, DHA raises your levels of neurotrophic factor, which has neuroprotective effects.

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The researchers caution that additional, larger studies are needed to determine whether DHA has protective effects for everyone or if its benefits are limited to people with a specific genotype. However, we do know that DHA can benefit you in a variety of ways, so it's good to consume it regularly while scientists continue their research.

You can get DHA from fatty fish like salmon. Scientists are recommending salmon or similar wild, cold water fish twice weekly. But if you are genetically predisposed, you may want to take additional precautions to help prevent Alzheimer's. You can do this by giving your brain some DHA every day. You can do that with a supplement like Complete Daily Oils. This product gives you a daily dose of a variety of fish- and plant-based oils to support brain health. DHA will help to protect your memory as you age.

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