A recent study published in the June 2023 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, evaluated the association between omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids intake, cognitive decline, and dementia. The results gave high evidence that Omega-3 reduces Alzheimer’s risk by up to 65%
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder which is highly prevalent among the elderly population. Despite the vast advancements in research, the Alzheimer’s disease happens to lack effective therapeutics. The proper identification of risk factors that can be modified to prevent or delay AD onset is the current mode of dealing with AD. So, prevention is playing a highly important role.
In view of increasing numbers of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases worldwide, the development of effective therapies and early diagnostic options along with prevention possibilities, are highly being worked on. A good amount of research is focused on considering the potential of our diet and food supplementation. Both of these are easier and more consistent to incorporate in the long run.
Omega-3 Reduces Alzheimer’s Risk: High Evidence
Some noted changes in brain can occur several years before the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s appear. The early brain changes give a possible window of opportunity to prevent or delay the debilitating memory loss and other dementia symptoms.
Family history is a strong risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s. The risk increases if there has been more than one family member with the illness. If you happen to have a family history, then ensure to discuss this with your family care physician or a Psychiatrist if needed.
Omega-3, the polyunsaturated fatty acids, has long been known on the list of preventive measures, to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. Omega-3 improves brain development and cognition and also reduces inflammation.
The current research indicates that a daily dose of more than 1 gm of omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 65 percent or so. A comprehensive meta-analysis of 48 long-term studies also found that omega-3 fatty acids can also reduce the probability of dementia and cognitive decline by up to 20 percent.
Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in several key functions, including the cell membrane formation, the production of signaling molecules, and also the regulation of inflammation. A good amount of research studies have long been known for the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, but a meta-review was yet to be conducted.
Association between omega-3 fatty acid and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease: Study
A study from Qingdao University, China, evaluated the longitudinal relationships of omega-3 fatty intake with the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, dementia & other cognitive illnesses.
It has long been known that Omega-3 reduces Alzheimer’s risk. Previous research had already linked the deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids to the risk of developing dementia. The goal now was to also to assess the longitudinal relationship of omega-3 fatty acid intake as a blood biomarker with the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD), dementia and any other cognitive illness.
Longitudinal data were derived from 1135 individuals (mean) who did not have dementia. The age of these participants was between 55-90 years. For analysis, the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) cohort was applied to compare the association between omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and blood biomarkers, with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia outcomes during a 6-year follow-up.
In addition to this, the team also conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of previously published cohort-type studies. The target was to assess the long-term relationship of dietary omega-3 intake in link to peripheral biomarkers with dementia or cognitive decline.
Furthermore, meta-regression modeling was performed to evaluate the dose-response relationships and cognitive status to determine the relative risk (RR) values.
Face-to-face interviews were also conducted to obtain information on the history of medical disorders. Participants underwent neuropsychological and cognitive evaluation at both study initiation and follow-up.
Results of the Study
Individuals developing Alzheimer’s showed apolipoprotein E-carrying tendency. Individuals with long-term consumption of omega-3 showed a 65% reduction in AD risk.
Moderate to high levels of evidence indicated that omega-3 intake could prevent cognitive decline or any-cause dementia by 20.0%. This is in particular for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intake.
One gram daily could be considered the threshold dose for omega-3 intake to prevent cognitive decay.
The dose-response analysis of 27,161 individuals, showed that every 0.10 g/day increment of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA intake reduced cognitive decline risk by 10% and 8.0%.
DHA intake reduced the risk of developing dementia and AD by 27% and 24%, respectively. The risk of cognitive decay among older population aged 65 years and above was reduced significantly by 23%.
The results of this study strengthened the relationship between omega-3 and dementia, cognitive decay, or AD. Long-term dietary supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids may significantly reduce risk of developing Alzheimer’s dementia or other cognitive disease.
DHA and EPA levels must be examined regularly among individuals at an elevated risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
It’s the Omega-3 derived from algae sources.
A healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids appears to be between 1-to-1 and 4-to-1.
Changes in brain may begin a decade or more before the symptoms appear. During this time, toxic changes take place in brain, including abnormal buildups of proteins that form amyloid plaques and tau tangles.