Omega-3 Fatty Acids vs. Parkinson's?
Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help Prevent Parkinson's Disease, Tests in Mice Show
Nov. 30, 2007 -- The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids may include trimming
the chance of developing Parkinson's disease.
A new Canadian study shows that mice that eat chow laced with omega-3 fatty
acids may have better brain defenses against Parkinson's disease.
Not familiar with omega-3
fatty acids? Your body -- including your brain -- needs them to be
The omega-3 fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic
acid) are found in fish, including salmon and mackerel.
Another omega-3 fatty acid called ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is found in
leafy green vegetables, nuts, flaxseed, and vegetable oils such as canola and
The body can't make omega-3 fatty acids. But you can get them from foods or
Omega-3 fatty acids are being studied for their effects on heart
health, Alzheimer's disease, depression, and other conditions. Now, you can add
Parkinson's disease to that list.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Parkinson's Disease
In the new Canadian study, some mice got chow laced with DHA and other
omega-3 fatty acids. Other mice got ordinary chow, which totally lacked
The mice followed those diets for 10 months. Then they got a dose of a
chemical that kills the same brain cells that die in Parkinson's disease.
The mice on the DHA diet lost fewer of those cells than the mice that ate
"Our results suggest that this DHA deficiency is a risk factor for
developing Parkinson's disease, and that we would benefit from evaluating
omega-3's potential for preventing this disease in humans," says Frederic
Calon, PhD, in a news release.
Calon, who works in Quebec at the Universite Laval, notes that the typical
North American diet skimps on omega-3 fatty acids.
Calon and colleagues report their findings online in The FASEB
Journal, published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental