If you want to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease, I have good news. New research indicates that a dietary intervention could help. And I have even better news. You don't have to completely overhaul your diet to follow this advice. It's actually quite simple to incorporate into your daily routine.
This study, which was conducted at the University of Texas at San Antonio and published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, utilized a technology called single photon emission computer tomography, or SPECT for short. Using SPECT, researchers can measure blood flow in various parts of the brain. The researchers found that people who had a higher blood concentration of a particular nutrient tended to have better blood flow in a variety of brain regions.
So what is this nutrient? It's omega-3 fatty acids, particularly in the form of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The researchers evaluated 166 participants, measuring their omega-3 levels and performing SPECT on 128 regions of their brains. They divided the participants according to their EPA+DPA concentrations.
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At the end of the study, they found that those in the higher-concentration group (above the 50th percentile) showed statistically significant improvements in blood flow to the regions of the brain involved in memory and neurocognitive testing compared to those in the lower-concentration group. The researchers also found a correlation between low EPA and DHA levels and reductions in blood flow to areas of the brain involved in learning and managing depression.
We've known for quite some time that EPA and DHA are great for your cardiovascular health. So, the good news is, many of you have likely been protecting your brain for years and haven't even realized it. The researchers are excited to continue discovering how else the anti-amyloid, anti-tau, and anti-inflammatory effects of EPA and DHA can benefit our brains and help protect us from Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
It's obvious that you can't go wrong including EPA and DHA in your diet. Fish, grass-fed animals, and eggs from grass-fed chickens are good sources. And if you want to know if you are getting enough EPA and DHA, you can find out by ordering the $79 Omega-3 Index test at www.omegaquant.com. If you have an index over 8%, you're covered. If not, don't worry. You can significantly increase your levels by taking fish oil. My favorite brand of fish oil is Complete Daily Oils. Check it out and you'll know why. Just take two capsules a day, and after eight weeks, check the index again. In almost every case, it will be normal.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD