Researchers at the Ciudad University in Mexico have uncovered at least one of the ways the omega-3 fat DHA reduces Alzheimer’s risk and improves cognition in the early stages of the disease. DHA generates oxygenated compounds called docosanoids that modulate inflammation, cell survival, and lipid metabolism. Inflammation is associated with excess amyloid beta peptide that contributes to nerve damage in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. In addition, DHA modulates glial cell activity. Dysfunction of these cells is associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s, since they give support to nerve cells, remove amyloid beta peptides from the brain, and modulate inflammation.
High blood levels of the omega-3s EPA and DHA were associated with improved cognitive function in seniors, in a study from the University of the Ryukyus, Japan.
Heras-Sandoval D, Pedrraza-Chaverri J, Perez-Rojas J: Role of docosahexaenoic acid in the modulation of glial cells in Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Neuroinflammation 2016; March 10th.
Nishihira J, Tokashiki T, Higashiuesato Y, et al: Associations between serum omega-3 fatty acid levels and cognitive functions among community-dwelling octogenarians in Okinawa, Japan. Journal of Alzheimers Disease 2016; February 16th.