In the long search for a way to prevent Alzheimer's disease, fish oil has been one of the most common suggestions. A study published earlier this year supports the argument for greater consumption of essential fatty acids to support cognitive health.
A Little About Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive form of dementia. Typically, it develops after the age of 65, but early onset Alzheimer's is also possible. This disease impacts the memory and behavioral centers of the brain, which leads to forgetfulness and disorientation as the brain's gray matter atrophies. There is currently no known cure for Alzheimer's disease, but research continues for both a remedy and prevention.
Fish Oil for Prevention
Daily fish oil supplementation has long been researched for its positive effects on cognitive health. The key compounds within fish oil are essential fatty acids, like omega-3. These fatty acids may be able to prevent the degeneration of the brain tissue seen in Alzheimer's disease.
This latest study, conducted during an eight-year period and published in January in the medical journal Neurology, suggests those who consume omega-3s like docosahaexonic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in larger amounts have larger brain volume in old age, especially in the hippocampus. Shrinkage of the brain matter is normal as we age, but is also a sign of Alzheimer's disease, which progresses much more rapidly.
Again, there is no known cure for Alzheimer's at this time, but this latest research is promising and makes taking a daily fish oil supplement worth considering. Talk with your doctor about adding a fish oil supplement to your routine, as you should with any new supplement.
If you have a family history of Alzheimer's disease, there are some lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent the onset of this disease. Talk about your possible risk factors with your doctor and consider making some of these adjustments:
Exercise -- A 2012 study published in Neuroscience found 30 minutes of walking or jogging four times a week helped participants score better on memory tests.
Weight Management -- Your risk for developing Alzheimer's disease increases when you're overweight, so try to get within the desired range for your height through proper diet and exercise.
Reduce Stress -- Among the many negative side effects of having too much stress in your daily life is an increased risk for dementia. Find an activity you enjoy to reduce stress daily.
B Vitamins -- A study published in 2013 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America found a connection between B vitamins and a drastically slower rate of gray brain matter atrophy. Patients consumed 0.5 mg of B12, 0.8 mg of folic acid and 20 mg of B6 daily.
Challenge Your Brain -- Practice puzzles, learn a new language or even try to use your non-dominant hand for daily tasks to keep testing your brain and strengthening it.
Antioxidants -- Consuming foods rich in antioxidants will help defend the cells of the brain against damage and degeneration caused by free radical invaders.
Shop for fish oil supplements at eVitamins to support a healthy mind and body. Stay well!