A new study suggests that frequent fish eating can reduce the incidences of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is basically a neurodegenerative disease and is characterized by progressive deterioration in the brain. The symptoms include progressive, irreversible memory loss (dementia), deterioration in intellectual functions, lack of emotions (apathy), speech and gait (manner of walking) disturbances and disorientation (inability to remember or recognize directions, locations, time or persons).
This observation was made through a study conducted involving around 800 elderly people in Chicago. All the participants were enquired about their diet at the onset of the study. A follow-up of these people after a period of four years showed that 131 persons in the study had developed Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers observed that those people who ate fish at least weekly were 60 percent less likely to develop dementia.
The researchers say that n-3 fatty acids (a polyunsaturated fat) consumed almost exclusively from fish, may be responsible for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers also said that one of the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is the primary component of membrane phospholipids in the brain. This DHA is directly available in fish, however a small amount of it can also be synthesized within the body from its precursor n-3 fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). EPA is also consumed directly from fish, but alpha-linolenic acid is obtained from vegetable oils and nuts.
Hence, the study suggest that taking one fish meal a week is associated with a 60% reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Although this study seems promising some more extensive and elaborate studies are required to confirm the beneficial role of fish intake in the prevention as well as management of Alzheimer’s disease.