(NaturalNews) A new study published in the journal Translational Stroke Research has determined that potent, anti-inflammatory compounds in fish oil and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids help to limit or prevent brain damage following a stroke. The Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) present in fish oil provides protection for the delicate brain tissue that can become permanently damaged by blood clots or atherosclerosis.
When blood flow to the brain is blocked, tissue at the site of the blockage can become permanently damaged if blood flow is not restored quickly. But even if blood flow is restored, a slew of harmful free radicals and pro-inflammatory enzymes floods the blockage site, which can cause further damage and cell death. But the DHA in fish oil demonstrated the ability to reduce swelling and bring about restored neurological function and recovery at the damage site, effectively limiting and even preventing permanent brain damage.
"We are just now beginning to understand the significant impact of omega-3 essential fatty acids on stroke," explained Dr. Nicolas Bazan, Director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at the Louisiana State University (LSU) Health Sciences Center, and author of the study. "[E]ach new discovery brings us closer to defeating stroke and other debilitating neurodegenerative diseases."
Unlike clot destroying drugs given via thrombolysis that are difficult to administer and that have a fairly low success rate, fish oil is effective when administered even several hours after a stroke. Tests revealed that the sooner fish oil was administered, the more effective it was at reducing permanent tissue damage. But in the event that care is delayed, fish oil can still provide a powerful therapeutic benefit unmatched by pharmaceutical drugs.