Fish Oil May Prevent Onset Of Alzheimer's Disease, Even For Those With Genetic Marker

Aric Mitchell

Fish oil: if you're not taking it then maybe you should be, especially if Alzheimer's disease is a fear.

That's at least what a new study from Rhode Island Hospital has found. According to Forbes, the researchers "studied three groups of older adults, ages 55-90, using neuropsychological tests and brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) every six months."

The news site continued: "The group included 229 adults with no signs of the disease; 397 who were diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment; and 193 with Alzheimer's. All participants were part of the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), which began in 2003 and ended in 2010."

Results from the study showed that those adults who took fish oil and had not yet developed Alzheimer's, experienced "significantly less" cognitive decline and brain shrinkage when compared to the group that did not take fish oil.

Measurements for cognitive decline were taken using the standards set forth by the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-cog) and the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE).

One caveat from the study, however, was that researchers did not mention the amount of fish oil taken, nor did they state the percentage of EPA and DHA in the supplements.

Even so, the results were promising because they showed that if you don't have the genetic marker for Alzheimer's disease, you stand a very good chance of avoiding it altogether by use of the supplement.

And since many cases of Alzheimer's are preventable, that's a positive sign.

However, for those with the genetic marker, hope isn't completely lost. According to the Forbes report, "it's still possible that starting fish oil supplementation during or before middle age could protect against developing Alzheimer's even for people with the genetic marker."

The news site adds: "If you think of the gene for Alzheimer's as a light switch, taking fish oil earlier in life could prevent the switch from being flicked on."

Another recent Alzheimer's study showed that levels of Omega-3 were less common in the cerebrospinal fluid of Alzheimer's patients, a realization that could lead to better diagnostics for the disease.

In that study, it was pointed out that people with high fish-oriented diets tend to have less cases of contracting Alzheimer's.

With these latest findings, how encouraged are you that we will one day find a cure or foolproof prevention method for Alzheimer's disease?

Also, are you currently taking fish oil supplements for this type of thing? What has been your experience with the supplement?

[Image via ShutterStock]