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Research Suggests Marine Oil may Prevent Alzheimer's Disease

Tuesday, February 09, 2010 by: Carl Thompson
Tags: marine oil, Alzheimer's, health news

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(NewsTarget) While doctors are prescribing expensive drugs that can have devastating side effects to slow the progress of Alzheimer`s, new research shows it might be possible to prevent the onset of this cruel disease by something as simple, inexpensive, and safe as a dose of marine oil every day during our younger years.

In the US, as many as 5.3 million people live with Alzheimer`s. That number is predicted to double every 20 years.1 The latest medical thinking is that the escalating rate of Alzheimer`s disease has its roots in chronic inflammation that`s a result of the modern diet deficient in omega 3 fatty acids.

The first symptoms of Alzheimer`s generally appear after age 60. Such symptoms include memory problems, loss of motor control, and problems with one`s sense of smell. But according to the National Institute on Aging, the damage that eventually turns into Alzheimer`s disease can begin to occur 20 years before the first symptoms appear. It makes sense, therefore, to do whatever one can to prevent the process from beginning. The good news is that a substance found in nature could offer the best new hope for prevention.

While some people have drawn a genetic short straw that predisposes them to develop Alzheimer`s disease, the latest medical research has identified chronic inflammation as the first stage in the process. For example, one team of researchers found that people whose blood carried the markers for inflammation, called cytokines, were more likely to go on to develop Alzheimer`s disease than test subjects without cytokines.2

Discovery of the link between inflammation and Alzheimer`s has led to research on the potential for anti-inflammatories to prevent the onset of the disease. In one study, a team of researchers tested a synthetic anti-inflammatory drug for the prevention of Alzheimer`s disease. They found that the anti-inflammatory drug "appeared to protect mild to moderately impaired Alzheimer`s disease patients from the degree of cognitive decline exhibited by a well-matched placebo-treated group."3

While synthetic prescription anti-inflammatories may be beneficial as an Alzheimer`s preventative, the side effects of their long-term use can be serious. Consequently, doctors have been looking for safer options for their Alzheimer`s patients. One way to address chronic inflammation is by adding therapeutic omega 3 fatty acids to the diet. Eating more omega 3 rich cold-water fish such as salmon and tuna is helpful, but a better way to boost omega 3 levels is by taking a dietary supplement.

The best sources of omega 3 are marine oils, usually sold as fish oil capsules derived from salmon. The most potent omega 3 marine oil found to date is derived from the green-lipped mussel of New Zealand. At the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, Australia, Dr. Michael Whitehouse PhD compared stabilized mussel oil with other anti-inflammatory agents, which included several prescription medications. At a dose of 5mg per kilogram of body weight, the stabilized mussel oil was found to be 97 percent effective in reducing inflammation, and 350 times more potent than salmon oil as a source of omega 3. Dr. Whitehouse concluded that the mussel oil was clearly a superior medicinal compound, because it achieved the desired result without the side effects that accompanied synthetic anti-inflammatories.

Since inflammation has been shown to be a culprit behind a great many conditions--from heart disease and arthritis to asthma and Alzheimer`s--it makes sense to get more omega 3 into one`s diet. High-potency marine oil, such as that derived from the New Zealand green-lipped mussel, may be the answer.

* * * * *
1 2009 statistics from the Alzheimer`s Association.
2 Zaldy S. Tan MD, Journal of the American Academy of Neurology, May 29, 2007.
3 Roberts L.J. et al. Neurology, 1993; 43:1609.

About the author

Carl D. Thompson has spent most of his 34-year career as a journalist writing about health and medical matters. He has a particular interest in low-risk natural alternatives to synthetic drugs. His new book is "Inflammation: What Drug Companies Do not Want You to Know," which is available as a free e-book at www.urgenthealthnews.com.

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