Scientists Discover How Fish Oil Protects the Brain

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by BLUEROSE7, Sep 12, 2005.


    BLUEROSE7 New Member

    FRIDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Louisiana State University scientists say they have discovered how the fatty acids found in fish oil help protect the human brain from the type of cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease.

    Their study shows that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid found in coldwater fish such as mackerel, sardines and salmon, reduces levels of a protein known to cause damaging plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

    What's more, the researchers discovered that a derivative of DHA, which they dubbed "neuroprotectin D1" (NPD1), is made in the human brain. That natural substance plays a key role, too, in protecting the brain from cell death, the study showed.

    "Now what does this tell us from the point of view of the disease? I believe that, obviously, diet is a major issue here," said Dr. Nicolas G. Bazan, director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.

    "DHA is an essential building block for the structure of brain cells," he noted. "And now we are finding that this building block also makes a 'golden brick' (NPD1) that helps the life of the neurons to continue."

    Greg M. Cole, associate director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine, said the study "provides strong evidence" that NPD1 offers "several important protective contributions."

    The study was released online Sept. 8, in advance of its Oct. 1 publication in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

    Bazan, who is currently staying in Philadelphia, had been in Poland to give the opening lecture at a meeting on neurodegenerative diseases when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. So far, he said, he has re-established contact with about half of the roughly 115 people who work at the LSU neuroscience center.

    Due to the state of emergency in New Orleans, the center won't resume work until perhaps late November or early December, interrupting what Bazan calls the most exciting period in his scientific career.

    Indeed, while previous studies have suggested that DHA reduces the risk of Alzheimer's-related cognitive deficits, scientists haven't explored how the fatty acid may work its protective magic.

    Some 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, according to the Alzheimer's Association. If no cure is found, as many as 16 million could have the disease by 2050, as the population ages.

    Bazan and colleagues at LSU and Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston conducted a series of experiments. Some of the testing involved postmortem human brain samples harvested from six patients who had Alzheimer's disease and an equal number of age-matched "control" samples from people who did not have the disease.

    The researchers also used technology called tandem mass spectrometry to analyze changes within brain cells.

    Studies show DHA is highly concentrated in the brain and retina of the eye. In earlier research, Bazan's team discovered that NPD1 is produced in cells that are critical for vision. They wondered whether the brain might do the same.

    "And the human brain, sure enough, makes neuroprotectin D1," Bazan found.

    Cole, the UCLA researcher, noted: "This study also shows that both DHA and its NPD1 product are effective in treating human brain cells and reducing the inflammation and toxicity from a toxin called beta amyloid that is widely believed to cause Alzheimer's."

    The researchers also examined specific areas of the brains of people with Alzheimer's, including an area critical to memory formation and cognition. "And that area shows huge -- I mean 20-, 25-fold -- decreases in neuroprotectin D1, as compared with other areas in the same human brain," Bazan said.

    Furthermore, in cell studies designed to mimic the effects of aging, the team found that adding DHA reduced the secretion of toxic beta amyloid proteins and, at the same time, spurred production of NPD1.

    "We are concluding that neuroprotectin D1 induces a gene expression program that is neuroprotective, meaning that it promotes survival of brain cells," Bazan said. And that discovery, he added, could one day lead to the development of a new treatment to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

    For now, though, people should pursue a nutritional approach to warding off Alzheimer's and diminishing the effects of the disease.

    Since DHA sources are safe, cheap, available and clinically proven to fight heart disease, the nation's number one killer, Cole said he would advise families of Alzheimer's patients to make sure their loved ones get the minimum recommended DHA from their diet or supplements. Experts recommend 200 to 300 milligrams per day, a far greater amount than the 60 to 80 milligrams daily that Americans typically get in their diet, he noted.

  2. elsa

    elsa New Member

    I saw this too. I had been reading about DHA and the many good test results that got with ADHD. It protects the brain as well as the nervous system. Just what we need, huh?!

    Thanks for taking the time to post this. I hope you are doing well.


    BLUEROSE7 New Member

    I'm doing pretty good expect for right much trouble with my legs, knees and feet swelling and of course the pain.

    I hope you are doing well too and have had a low pain day!!

  4. orachel

    orachel New Member

    ...about fish oil. Was in an add for "grandma's arthritis cure" or something like that. Was fish oil plus some other ingredients, but seemed a bit too good to be true to actually, you know, BE true.
  5. elsa

    elsa New Member

    You have been so very helpful to many of us here. I know it's hard because natural health is a way of life for you and your profession, but please understand that a majority of us are just learning and trying to understand
    it all.

    "New" medicine? .... not by any stretch of the imagination but it's been kept quite successfully out of the common circulation.

    Frustrating for you to be sure .... but when you let that frustration loose while people are asking and trying to learn ...they either don't understand your "wit" or end up feeling to stupid for asking.

    When I first started down this path I knew nothing about nothing. I still don't know much ...except my ND is
    working on the root of many problems while my PCP is keeping me glued together.

    Take pity on we poor fools ... can't completely hold our ignorance against us if we were never taught as kids. Don't we get gold stars for at least attempting to learn now?! LOL

    Take care,


    BLUEROSE7 New Member

    I think Fish Oil has Many Many Benfits....And has been around for years....

    And people have taken it for Years for different Benefits..

    But I also think Everyday they are Learning New benefits they may come from taking different Supplements,Minerals, Vits, etc.....As well as what may work against us.

  7. elsa

    elsa New Member

    Dear Ralph,

    I get it now! Thanks for the translation!

    The more I learn about "me" and how all the systems work
    together, the more facsinated I become. The concept of "balance" is logical to the point of being simple. How it fell to the wayside and became a "new" medicine is hard to grasp.

    I was diagnosed 2 years ago. I did not go through all the hoops that most did. My PCP actually works with my ND to help heal me. That just isn't very common. He doesn't get in the way of my natural treatments ... will remove any rx'es that maybe hindering whatever system we are trying to bring back to balance. I'm very lucky to have both.

    O.K. - ... hang on to your frustration .. don't leap out of your chair or anything .. but .. the balancing of neurotransmitters with AMINO ACIDS is too straight forward and logical for words! I'm early days yet, but the fog and energy is slowly adjusting. I'm hindering myself a bit with the tramadol and it's effects on serotonin ...but I will get to the point of not needing it.( tramadol )

    Didn't know until two years ago that the adrenal gland meant much. Oh no .... are you o.k.? Need a glass of water?
    ( Having a good time with you here... Heck - feel like you're almost family at this stage so all's fair! )

    Hindsight is a great thing. If I had known the logical progression of a intensly serious viral infection and it's action on the adrenal gland, things may have gone much more smoothly for me.

    As it is, I caught myself warning someone the other night ( who work's for the Red Cross and doing the work of 15 people ) they better take time to take care of their adrenal gland ...up the support for it ,etc. Their expression was priceless!

    I am also, obviously, working on bring all the hormones back into balance after crashing my adrenal gland.
    This is taking some time too.

    I tried the common rx anti-virals when I was first diagnosed to no effect. Truly, it was the colostrum, whey concentrate and transfer factor that brought my EBV under control. I haven't had any flu responses in a long time.

    Don't get angry here .... but, my diet sucks. Ha LOL! I know it and admit it. I am improving ... some. The good news is that NOW I am aware of diet and will make better choices.

    The next phase on the horizon will be to address the allergies that I did not have until I crashed. As you may have read, I am on 2 (sometimes 3) rx'es to control them. I have written down the titles of your recommended books and outstanding treatment you recommend. You're gonna have to be patient with me though... I only have the capacity to
    learn, understand,and start balancing a couple of systems at a time, but I will get there.

    What have I learned? I'm a wreck! No, truly I can trace all of this to my ignorant management of my post life trheatening illness. My MD's saved my life. I could have used a ND to manage my recovery after the fact. On my own, I succeeded in running things into the ground.

    With my new understanding of things, I hope to finally bring everything back to "even" ... and then take natural health steps to prevent future events.

    I wrote this oh so long letter to you so you'll see your efforts have not gone unheard. I have learned so much. But I have only had two years to catch up with many people's lifetime education.

    I came to this board right after my diagnosis. I wish I could explain to you the complete eyes wide open .. what the heck are you talking about ... what's natural health mean expression I carried around for weeks. Then saw there was something to what many of ya'll were saying.

    I will always have an MD in my corner. Through no fault of their's I became seriously, do or die, life threaten -
    ingly ill and they saved my life. Now I have an ND to manage me ( no easy task!). Hope to get all the way well and stay that way. That's my idea of balance.

    The next time you feel compelled to run naked down main street, riping your hair out and screaming at the top of your lungs over your frustration ( and maybe hurt that your genuine desire to help people ) seems to be completely
    ignored to our continued detriment ... whew - what a sentence this is ... remember my letter to you.

    Thank you for your efforts. You have generously shared knowledge that you could very easily have charged for.

    Take care,


    P.S. I will still be reminding you from time to time to ease up on the "innocent ones" ... can't help myself ... I think it might be my job. Are you a Leo by chance? My next guess would be Aries.

    Thanks again .... your friend the Pisces. LOL

  8. deliarose

    deliarose New Member

    What's an ND, PCP and where can I find this post in which Ralph recommends these books etcc?
  9. sunflowergirl

    sunflowergirl Well-Known Member

    I just ordered my first bottle of peach flavored cod liver oil because I've heard it's really so good for you.
  10. sleepyinlalaland

    sleepyinlalaland New Member

    My mother told me the same thing (like other moms) 50 years ago. She said fish was brain food so we had it once a week...she chose Friday. We weren't Catholic but our neighbors were so she figured why not (we'd all smell fish together!).

    I'm just funnin...I realize it is important when science lends its credibility to this long-held folk belief. Plus the new advice is to have it several times a week. It's not just for Fridays anymore! I guess that's fish doesn't seem to have worked for us (ha).


    BLUEROSE7 New Member

    not to most anyway... I too grew up being told Fish was Brain food and usually ate it once a week.

    The point of the Article here is that there Discovering HOW it really works on protecting the Brain..

    As stated in the article already 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease and according to the Alzheimer's Association, if a cure is not found as many as 16 Million could have Alzheimers by 2050...A sad and scary thought!!


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