Tag Archives: Docosahexaenoic acid

Mercury Cancels Brain Benefits of Fish Oil

A long-term dietary study untangles the effects on brain development of two well-known but contrary exposures – beneficial oil and toxic methyl mercury – that accompany a fish-rich diet.

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Prenatal mercury exposure from a mother’s fish-rich diet can reduce the beneficial effects fish oil has on brain development, report an international group of researchers. The babies exposed in the womb to higher methyl mercury levels scored lower on skills tests as infants and toddlers than those exposed to lower levels of the pollutant.

Of five nutrients tested, only the benefits of the fish oil DHA were affected by the mercury. The extent to which methyl mercury interferes with fish oil’s brain benefits is uncertain.

Environmental Health News reports:

“The beneficial effects of eating fish during pregnancy on a baby’s brain development are relatively well accepted. However, some fish can contain high levels of mercury ... Government agency advisories suggest women of childbearing years eat fish with low mercury levels as well as limit consumption of fish that contain high levels.”


Resources:

Environmental Health News January 3, 2011
Environmental Research October 18, 2010

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Omega-3 Boosts Brain Function in Boys

The omega-3 fat DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) may alter the function of the brain associated with working memory, according to results of a new study with healthy boys.
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Scientists showed, for the first time using neuro-imaging, that supplementation with DHA alters the functional activity in cortical attention networks in humans.

The study follows hot on the heels of backing from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for DHA-related brain and eye health claims for infants. EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) said DHA levels of 100 mg of per day were appropriate for 7-24 month-old infants, along with 200 mg per day for pregnant and lactating women.

Additionally, supplements of omega-3 fats, vitamins and minerals for prisoners may reduce the number of violent and aggressive episodes, according to another recent study.

Nutritional supplements containing vitamins, minerals, omega-3 and omega-6 fats were associated with a 34 percent reduction in violent incidents, according to findings of a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial with over 200 young adult offenders.

Meanwhile, there was a 14 percent increase in the number of reported violent incidents in participants in a placebo group.

Resources:
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition February 3, 2010 [Epub ahead of print]
Aggressive Behavior March 2010; 36(2):117-26

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Krill Oil is ‘Safe, Well Tolerated and Effective’

Daily supplements of omega-3-rich krill oil is a safe and effective way of increasing levels of EPA and DHA, according to a new study.

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Four weeks of krill oil supplementation raised levels of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in overweight and obese men and women with “no indication of adverse effects on safety parameters.”

Demand for krill oil, rich in omega-3, phospholipids and antioxidants, is increasing. Krill are small shrimp-like marine crustaceans eaten by fish, birds and whales. Krill are considered to have the largest biomass of any multi-cellular animal in the world.

Source: NutraIngredients October 26, 2009

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Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Reduce Depression


Depression is an established risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease (CHD). Dietary factors resulting in lower levels of omega-3 fats not only increase CHD risk, but may also cause depression.
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Investigators measured red blood cell levels of two omega-3 fats, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and assessed depressive symptoms in a cross-sectional study of nearly 1,000 adults with CHD.

As EPA and DHA levels rose, depressive symptoms dropped. The prevalence of depression ranged from 23 percent in participants with the lowest blood levels of omega-3 fats to 13 percent in participants with the highest omega-3 blood levels.

Resources:
http://content.karger.com/ProdukteDB/produkte.asp?doi=10.1159/000203118
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090609073022.htm

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Fatty Fish-oil May Help Reduce Tumour

An omega 3 fatty acid found in fish oils reduced the size of tumours in mice and made a chemotherapy drug more potent while limiting its  harmful effects, Egyptian researchers reported.

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The findings, published in publisher BioMed Central‘s peer-reviewed Cell Division journal, add to evidence showing a range of health benefits from eating the fatty acids found in foods such as salmon. A.M. El-Mowafy and colleagues from Mansoura University in Egypt looked at how an omega 3 fatty acid called docosahexanoic acid, or DHA, affected solid tumours growing in mice and how well it interacted with the chemotherapy drug cisplatin.

“Our results suggest a new, fruitful drug regimen in the management of solid tumours based on combining cisplatin and possibly other chemotherapeutics with DHA,” El-Mowafy said in a statement. “DHA elicited prominent chemo-preventative effects on its own, and appreciably augmented those of cisplatin as well.” In March, U.S. researchers showed that a diet high in omega 3 fatty acids– the kind found in fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines- protected against advanced prostate cancer even in men more at risk of the disease.

The fatty acids, also found in foods such as walnuts and leafy greens, have been shown to provide an anti-inflammatory effect and have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease. In their study, El-Mowafy’s team found that, at the molecular level, DHA reduces the accumulation of white blood cells, systemic inflammation, and a harmful condition marked by decreased antioxidant levels- all of which have been linked to tumour growth. Their experiment also showed that the fatty acid reduced toxicity and injury to kidney tissue caused by the chemotherapy drug, the researchers said.

Sources:The Times Of India

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