Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disease that slowly destroys cognitive and memory skills. The National Institute on Aging reports that there are about 5.1 million people in the US with Alzheimer’s, for which there is no cure. However studies have suggested that eating certain types of fish have helped ward off and slow down the effects of the disease. While there aren’t any definitive answers, science is getting closer and closer to cracking the case. Here’s what the research suggests:
Fish Oil Supplements and Alzheimer’s
Many people take fish oil supplements to keep their heart healthy, and now there is some evidence that it may help improve brain health as well. According to researchers, fish oil supplements may have an impact on parts of the brain that are critical for memory and thinking.
The study’s research team conducted memory tests on participants, 117 of whom were given fish oil supplements. The tests were given periodically over the next 3 years. It was found that participants who were taking the supplements had higher overall scores on memory and thinking tests than those who were not taking them. The fish oil supplements seem to benefit those who did not carry APOE-E4, a gene that increases the risk for Alzheimer’s.
Additionally, the study found that participants who were taking fish oils had larger brains than those who were not, particularly the hippocampus and the cerebral cortex which are structures of the brain critical for thinking and memory. A larger brain shows that a person has better cognitive health while shrinkage of the brain has been connected to Alzheimer’s. These benefits also applied to participants who did not carry the APOE-E4 gene.
In another small study conducted on people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a memory loss disorder that may precede Alzheimer’s disease, it was found that fish oil and antioxidant supplements helped reduce the build-up of amyloid-beta protein and brain inflammation. According to researchers, one of the best ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease is to prevent MCI.
Baked or Broiled Fish for Alzheimer’s Disease
According to a recent study, eating fish has many benefits for the brain. A University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine research has found that eating baked or broiled fish at least once a week can be good for the brain regardless of how much omega-3 fatty acid is in the fish.
MRI results showed that eating fish cooked in these ways can help preserve gray matter volume in brain areas that are at risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Gray matter volume plays a vital role in brain health. The health of the brain is maintained when this volume is higher. On the other hand, when gray matter volume decreases, it is an indication that brain cells are shrinking.
According to researchers, eating baked or broiled fish once a week helps in promoting stronger neurons in the gray matter by enlarging them and making them healthier. With just a simple lifestyle choice, the brain’s resistance to this disease increases and also lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s significantly. On the other hand, eating fried fish did not show an increase in brain volume or any protection against cognitive decline.