Omega-3 fatty acids & Alzheimer’s risk – important new study

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Article:
Nutrient Intake and Plasma Beta-amyloid
– Source: Neurology, May 2, 2012

Yian Gu, PhD, Nicolas Scarmeas, MD, et al.

[Note: high levels of plasma beta-amyloid have been implicated in the onset of Alzheimer’s and cognitive problems. Omega-3 PUFA are fats commonly found in marine oils (e.g., fatty fish, krill, algae, squid) and plant oils (e.g., flaxseed oil)]

Abstract:
Objective: The widely reported associations between various nutrients and cognition may occur through many biologic pathways including those of beta-amyloid (Abeta). However, little is known about the possible associations of dietary factors with plasma Abeta40 or Abeta42. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the association between nutrient intake and plasma Abeta levels.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, plasma Abeta40 and Abeta42 and dietary data were obtained from 1,219 cognitively healthy elderly (age >65 years), who were participants in a community-based multiethnic cohort.

Information on dietary intake was obtained 1.2 years, on average, before Abeta assay. The associations of plasma Abeta40 and Abeta42 levels and dietary intake of 10 nutrients were examined using linear regression models, adjusted for age, gender, ethnicity, education, caloric intake, apolipoprotein E genotype, and recruitment wave.

Nutrients examined included saturated fatty acid, monounsaturated fatty acid, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), omega-6 PUFA, vitamin E, vitamin C, Beta-carotene, vitamin B-12, folate, and vitamin D.

Results: In unadjusted models that simultaneously included all nutrients, higher intake of omega-3 PUFA was associated with lower levels of Abeta40 (beta = -24.7, p < 0.001) and lower levels of Abeta42 (beta = -12.3, p < 0.001).

In adjusted models, omega-3 PUFA remained a strong predictor of Abeta42 (beta = -7.31, p = 0.02), whereas its association with Abeta40 was attenuated (beta = -11.96, p = 0.06). Other nutrients were not associated with plasma Abeta levels.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that higher dietary intake of omega-3 PUFA is associated with:

• Lower plasma levels of Abeta42,

• A profile linked with reduced risk of incident Alzheimer’s disease and slower cognitive decline in our cohort.

Source: Neurology, May 2, 2012. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318258f7c2 by Gu Y, Schupf N, Cosentino SA, Luchsinger JA, Scarmeas N. Taub Institute for Research in Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain; Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center; Division of Epidemiology, Joseph P. Mailman School of Public Health , Department of Neurology and Department of Medicine, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.  [Email: ns257@columbia.edu]

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