Science Update

New study demonstrates omega-3 fatty acids promote clearance of beta-amyloid peptides

New research published in The FASEB Journal provides more evidence that fish oil supplementation offer an additional benefit for Alzheimer's disease by improving the function of the glymphatic system. This system is responsible for clearing waste and metabolites such as amyloid-I² peptides from the brain.

In this study researchers found fish oil supplementation significantly promotes the clearance function of the glymphatic system and AI² clearance from the brain. In addition omega-3 fatty acids help maintain brain homeostasis which is beneficial for neurological diseases traumatic brain injury and sleep disturbances.

A different study published in July 2015 in The FASEB Journal demonstrated a clearance of amyloid-I² protein and reduced inflammation in the neurological tissues with fish oil supplementation.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients involved in numerous metabolic processes that play a significant role in cognitive health. There was an interesting study published in January in the Journal of Alzheimers Disease in which researchers found a link between omega-3 levels homocysteine and brain atrophy rates. Homocysteine plays a role in regulating phospholipid metabolism and omega-3 distribution by the methionine cycle. As a result B vitamins are essential for the synthesis of phospholipids. This study demonstrated that when omega-3 levels are in an upper normal range B vitamins slow cognitive decline and brain atrophy.

In addition to omega-3 fatty acids there are several other nutrients to consider. A study published last September in the journal Neurology demonstrated that resveratrol stabilized amyloid-beta40 (Abeta40) in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. This biomarker declines when the disease progresses.

Another study published last year in JAMA Neurology demonstrated a significant association between vitamin D insufficiency and cognitive decline specifically seen Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

In addition studies have also demonstrated low levels of magnesium in the brains of patients suffering from Alzheimers disease. Magnesium L-threonate is a unique patented form of magnesium that has the ability to cross the blood brain barrier and increase learning ability and working memory as well as short- and long-term memory.

Glutathione is also essential for neurodegenerative disease and healthy aging (which I highlighted in last weeks Science Update). This powerful antioxidant has been found to be depleted in the brain of those with neurodegenerative disorders. The extent of glutathione depletion appears to mirror the severity of the disease and is the earliest known indicator of degeneration. The brain has difficulty handling significant amounts of oxidative stress due to the presence of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low levels of antioxidants such as glutathione. Thus providing antioxidant support with NAC or glutathione can also offer a beneficial effect in all neurodegenerative disorders.


By Michael Jurgelewicz DC DACBN DCBCN CNS