Eating fish oils fights cause of dementia

John von Radowitz

EATING fish and other foods containing omega-3 fatty acids may lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

The oily compounds, which combat inflammation, appear to lower blood levels of a protein linked to Alzheimer's.

Researchers in the US studied 1,219 people over the age of 65 who were free of dementia.

Participants were asked questions about their diet, and had their blood tested for beta-amyloid.

The protein clumps together in the brains of people with Alzheimer's and is one of the key hallmarks of the disease.

Blood beta-amyloid levels were found to lower with greater consumption of omega-3 fatty acid. A daily intake of one gramme of omega-3 above the average amount consumed by the study participants was associated with a 20pc to 30pc reduction in beta-amyloid.

Levels of the protein in the blood are believed to reflect those found in the brain, indicating a protective effect from consuming omega-3 rich foods.

Lead researcher Dr Nikolaos Scarmeas, from Columbia University Medical Centre in New York, said: "While it's not easy to measure the level of beta-amyloid deposits in the brain in this type of study, it is relatively easy to measure the levels of beta-amyloid in the blood, which, to a certain degree, relates to the level in the brain."