Daily supplements with the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) such Omega XL may benefit Alzheimer’s sufferers.
An exciting new pilot research study recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease has shown that Omega-3 DHA, along with vitamin D3, may help the immune system to clear the brain of harmful plaque associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, is a progressive and fatal condition currently affecting over 13 million people worldwide.
Research has long shown that plaque made up of a protein called amyloid-beta is present in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. The amyloid-beta protein buildup gets between brain cells and prevents the cells from communicating with each other. Scientists believe the buildup of amyloid-beta causes a reaction that triggers inflammation, and the destruction and elimination of damaged cells. It is thought that the increase in brain cell damage and death from oxidative stress causes continued loss of cognitive function, resulting in progressive and irreversible dementia.
In the study, researchers isolated immune cells called macrophages from the blood of Alzheimer’s patients and exposed them to amyloid-beta proteins. Then they added either a form of vitamin D3 or omega-3 fatty acid DHA to each sample.
What they found is that both the vitamin D3 and the omega 3 DHA helped the macrophages to decrease the presence of amyloid-beta protein, and both helped reduce cell death around the protein buildup.
This research suggests that a balance of supplementation with omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which is found in Omega XL, and vitamin D3 could be of significant benefit for boosting the immunity of those suffering from Alzheimer’s.
A larger study is being pursued to help confirm the research findings. In addition, researchers will conduct clinical trials using omega-3 DHA to further the understanding of its use and effectiveness with Alzheimer’s patients.