According to a new study, omega-3 fatty acids, the type found in fish oil, may help protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease. A team of researchers at UCLA studied mice that were genetically predisposed to get an Alzheimer-like disease. The mice had a tendency to form plaques in the brain, similar to those seen in human Alzheimer’s patients.
Researchers fed one group of mice a diet deficient in DHA (a fatty acid found in fish oil). Another group was fed a diet that was very high in DHA.
After five months the mice were given a memory test. They were trained to find a platform in water. The platform was then submerged. The mice had to remember where the platform was in order to find it again.
The mice fed the DHA did much better in finding the platform than those fed the DHA deficient diet. In many cases the DHA deficient mice swam in a circle on the edge of the tank and could not find the platform at all.
Previous research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids protect the heart. Now there is some evidence that they protect the brain.