Being a Columbia University Alumnus, I like to give evidence to studies conducted at the institution where I studied. I might be biased, but who’s not when it comes to your Alma Mater?
Anyway, in this study, Nikolaos Scarmeas, MD, MS, with Columbia University Medical Center in New York and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, and his team, found that a diet rich in foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids (such as nuts, fish and chicken) may be associated with lower blood levels of a protein that is related to Alzheimer’s disease and memory problems.
For the study (published in the May 2, 2012, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology) 1,219 people older than age 65, free of dementia, were asked to provide information about their diet - for an average of around 15 months - before their blood was tested for the beta-amyloid (the protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease and memory problems).
The research found that the more omega-3 fatty acids an individual took in, the lower their blood beta-amyloid levels.
Consuming 1 gram of omega-3 per day (equal to approximately half a fillet of salmon per week) more than the average omega-3 consumed by people in the study is associated with 20% to 30% lower blood beta-amyloid levels.
The results stayed the same after adjusting for age, education, gender, ethnicity, amount of calories consumed and whether a participant had the APOE gene, a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
“While it’s not easy to measure the level of beta-amyloid deposits in the brain in this type of study, it is relatively easy to measure the levels of beta-amyloid in the blood, which, to a certain degree, relates to the level in the brain,” said Scarmeas.
“Determining through further research whether omega-3 fatty acids or other nutrients relate to spinal fluid or brain beta-amyloid levels or levels of other Alzheimer’s disease related proteins can strengthen our confidence on beneficial effects of parts of our diet in preventing dementia,” he further added.
This is not the first study that has found a link between omega-3 fatty acids and the brain. A previous research published in the February issue of Neurology showed that adults with lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids actually have smaller brain, as well as certain signs of cognitive impairment.
In other words, make sure to include a good amout of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids in your diet so that you can be rested that your brain is well taken care of!
The Iron You