Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fish and dementia

I've talked a lot about how fish develops brain power. It also helps you hang onto the brain power you have! In a French study, 1214 seniors without dementia were followed for 4 years. During that time, 65 of them developed dementia. It was found that the higher the person's eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) level, the lower the risk of dementia. Factors that could have explained this trend that were factored out included: age, education, diabetes, and vitamin E levels. EPA appeared to be a more significant determinant in this population than did the "other" fish oil, docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA.

When individuals also had depression, it appears as total fatty acid ratios also became important. High ratios of the omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids were also important in risk determination.

One thing to take away from this study: Omega-3's are important for preserving brain integrity. Secondly, balancing the right kind of fats and limiting the potentially destructive ones (omega-6's, if you've been reading this blog that means the "S" and "C" oils), is important for managing mood and preventing depression.

Samieri C, Féart C, Letenneur L, Dartigues JF, Pérès K, Auriacombe S, Peuchant E, Delcourt C, Barberger-Gateau P. Low plasma eicosapentaenoic acid and depressive symptomatology are independent predictors of dementia risk. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Sep;88(3):714-21.

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