It has been suspected for some time that taking fish oil may reduce the risk of developing age-related Alzheimers disease. Fatty fish, like salmon, are rich in oils which contain omega-3 acids. Omega-3′s cannot be manufactued by the body and must be acquired through diet or vitamins.
New research from UCLA’s Dr. Greg Cole has now shown that these acids (also called docosahexaenoic acid or DHA) increases the production of a protein called LR11, which in turn has been confirmed to destroy the protein that forms beta-amyloid plaques. LR11 can reduce beta-amyloid production by guiding APP (the precursor of amyloid) in recycling Golgi and early endosome pathways, thus trafficking it away from beta- and alpha-secretase. Without interaction with the secretases, the harmful amyloid protein cannot form and aggregate into neuronal plaques. These plaques, along with neurofibrillary tau tangles, are the pathological features of Alzheimers, and are responsible for the slow degeneration of Alzheimer’s patients’ brains.
“We found that even low doses of DHA increased the levels of LR11 in rat neurons, while dietary DHA increased LR11 in brains of rats or older mice that had been genetically altered to develop Alzheimer’s disease,” Cole said in a statement.
Published in this month’s Journal of Neuroscience, abstract here.