Scientists from the Fatty Acid Research Institute found that people with a higher blood DHA level are 49% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease (AD) vs. those with lower levels.
The finding suggests that providing extra dietary omega-3 DHA, especially for those carrying the ApoE4 gene (which approximately doubles one’s risk to develop AD) might slow the development of the disease.
The research is published in Nutrients and was conducted by Aleix Sala-Vila et al.
In the study, the team examined 1,490 dementia-free people aged ≥65 years old.
They test the association of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in blood with incident Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), while also testing for interaction with APOE-ε4 carriership.
The team found the risk for AD in people with high DHA levels was 49% lower compared with those with low levels of DHA. A high DHA level also provided 4.7 additional years of life free of AD.
Further, the researchers found that an increased intake of DHA might lower risk for developing AD, particularly in higher-risk people such as those carrying the APOE-ε4 allele.
This suggests that they may benefit more from higher DHA levels than non-carriers.
The public health impact of preventing AD with something as simple as a dietary intervention like DHA is also significant.
The estimated health-care payments in 2021 for all patients with AD or other dementias amount to $355 billion in the US (not including caregiving by family members and other unpaid caregivers).
Any cost-effective strategy for delaying the onset of AD is of utmost public health interest
Delaying AD by 5 years leads to 2.7 additional years of life, and 4.8 additional AD-free years for an individual who would have acquired AD and is worth over $500,000.
If you care about Alzheimer’s disease, please read studies about COVID-19 and Alzheimer’s disease are connected, and the findings of two old drugs that may help treat Alzheimer’s disease.
For more information about Alzheimer’s and brain health, please see recent studies about new non-drug treatment may help prevent Alzheimer’s , and results showing why some older people less likely to have Alzheimer’s disease.
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