Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.
October 28 2016. An article published online on October 7, 2016 in The FASEB Journal reports the finding of Chinese researchers of an ability of omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids to promote the brain's clearance of amyloid beta, a toxic protein that accumulates in the form of plaque in Alzheimer's disease patients. Omega 3 fatty acids accomplish this by improving the function of the glymphatic system, a functional waste clearance pathway for the central nervous system.
By comparing normal mice to mice genetically modified to express high brain levels of omega 3 fatty acids, researchers Huixia Ren and colleagues observed that higher omega 3 levels enhanced the glymphatic system's clearance function, including its ability to remove brain amyloid beta. Glymphatic system function was also boosted in normal mice supplemented with fish oil (a significant source of omega 3 fatty acids), in comparison with mice that did not receive omega 3. "The results of the present study prove a novel mechanism by which omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids exert protective roles in reducing amyloid beta accumulation via mediating the glymphatic system function," the authors conclude.
"These now-famous fatty acids have been the subject of major studies both in academia and industry," observed Thoru Pederson, PhD, who is Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "Just when we thought we had heard everything, here is something new, and it is provocative indeed. This study should not turn attention away from the roles of these substances in maintaining vascular health, but neither should they restrict our view. The brain is an extremely vascularized organ, while we might also bear in mind that omega-3 fatty acids may impact neurons, glia, and astrocytes themselves."