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Eating More Fish Reduces Dementia

FRANCE - A diet rich in fish, Omega-3 oils, fruits and vegetables may lower risk of dementia and Alzheimers disease, whereas consuming Omega-6 rich oils could increase chances of developing memory problems.

This is the outcome of a major research project reported in the current issue of the international journal, Neurology, which suggests that eating more fish reduces the risk of suffering Alzheimer’s disease.

For the study, researchers examined the diets of 8,085 men and women over the age of 65 who did not have dementia at the beginning of the study. During four years of follow-up investigations, 183 of the participants developed Alzheimer’s disease and 98 developed another type of dementia.

The study found people who regularly consumed Omega-3 rich oils - found most abundantly in “long-chain” forms in seafood but also found in other forms (“short chain”) in flaxseed oil and walnut oil - reduced their risk of dementia by 60 per cent compared with people who did not regularly consume such oils.

Diet reduces risk
People who ate fruits and vegetables daily also reduced their risk of dementia by 30 per cent compared with those who did not regularly eat fruits and vegetables. The study also found people who ate fish at least once a week had a 35 per cent lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and 40 per cent lower risk of dementia - provided they did not carry a gene that increases the risk of Alzheimer’s, called apolipoprotein E4, or ApoE4.

“Given that most people do not carry the ApoE4 gene, these results could have considerable implications in terms of public health,” said study author Pascale Barberger-Gateau, PhD, of INSERM, the French National Institute for Health & Medical Research, in Bordeaux, France.

“However, more research is needed to identify the optimal quantity and combination of nutrients which could be protective before implementing nutritional recommendations.”

In addition, the study found people who did not carry the ApoE4 gene and consumed an unbalanced diet characterized by regular use of Omega-6 rich oils, but not Omega-3 rich oils or fish, were twice as likely to develop dementia compared with those who did not eat Omega-6 rich oils (which include sunflower or grape seed oil).

“While we’ve identified dietary patterns associated with lowering a person’s risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s, more research is needed to better understand the mechanisms of these nutrients involved in these apparently protective foods,” Dr Barberger-Gateau said.

Further Reading

       - You can find more details on this study by clicking here.

Ellen Hardy

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