According to a prospective observational study presented by the Fatty Acid Research Institute, individuals having a higher blood level of DHA omega-3 fatty acids are 49% less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease compared to individuals with lower levels of DHA.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
The researchers suggested that providing additional dietary omega-3 DHA, particularly for individuals with the ApoE4 gene, which increases a person's likelihood of getting Alzheimer’s disease by approximately double, may delay the development of the disease.
In this study carried out within the Framingham Offspring Cohort, which included 1490 individuals 65 years and older who are free from dementia, red blood cell DHA association with incident Alzheimer’s disease was examined, while an APOE-e4 carriership interaction was also tested for.
In the highest quintile of levels of red blood cell DHA, incident Alzheimer’s disease risk was 49% lower in comparison to the lowest quintile levels. An increase in red blood cell DHA from Q1 to Q5 was estimated to provide approximately 4.7 extra years of Alzheimer’s disease-free life.
It was also observed that increased consumption of DHA could reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease, especially in higher-risk people such as those having the APOE-e4 allele, indicating that they could benefit more from higher levels of DHA compared to individuals not having the APOE-e4 allele.
The public health impact of Alzheimer’s disease prevention with a simple dietary intervention such as additional DHA is also of significance. According to the researchers, any cost-effective approach for slowing down the onset of Alzheimer’s disease is of significant public health interest, and the delay of Alzheimer’s disease by 5 years results in 2.7 extra years of life, and 4.8 extra years free of Alzheimer’s disease for a person who would have acquired Alzheimer’s disease.
The results confirm those of another study that reported cross-sectional connections between red blood cell DHA and measurements of brain volume and cognitive performance, with higher DHA levels being linked to beneficial outcomes.
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