Natural Health News – Omega-3 fatty acids – nutrients long believed to support neurological health – can cross the blood-brain barrier normally impenetrable and make their way into the brain, a new study suggests
the results, published presented in Journal of Internal Medicine. , could have implications for the use of omega-3 as a treatment for diseases like Alzheimer’s, according to Swedish researchers.
Previous studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acid in the key (the fluid surrounding the central nervous system) spinal fluid.
According to the lead author, Dr. Yvonne Freund-Levi “previous population studies indicated that omega-3 may protect against Alzheimer’s disease, which makes it interesting to study the effects of dietary supplements containing this group of fatty acids in patients who already have developed the disease, “
the fatty acids accumulate naturally in the central nervous system of the fetus during pregnancy, and has taken these acids are replaced continuously throughout life. However, studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acid in the key (the fluid surrounding the central nervous system) spinal fluid.
So the researchers wanted to know how far in the omega-3 fatty acids could travel nervous system and if a person’s diet could make a difference.
In particular, they were interested to see if fatty acids have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier protective brain, which protects the brain from chemicals found in other parts of the body.
supplementation boosts brain levels of EFA
In the small study of six months, 18 patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease took a supplement of omega-3 a day, while 15 patients took a placebo.
did not find those who took supplements of omega-3 have higher levels of two main forms of omega-3 in their cerebrospinal fluid – docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA ). There was no change in the placebo group.
DHA concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid were directly related to the degree of change in symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and markers of inflammation in the liquid – an important finding, since the reduction inflammation is a way to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease
This encouraging finding, researchers say, is a first step. Much work remains to be done before we know how fatty acid supplements utility could be used in treating specific symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, such as memory loss. “