Fish Oil Could Help Protect Alcohol Abusers from Dementia

A Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine study suggests that omega-3 fish oil might help protect against alcohol-related dementia.

Previous studies have shown that long-term alcohol abuse increases the risk of dementia. The Loyola study found that in the brain cells of rats exposed to high levels of alcohol, a fish oil compound protected against inflammation and cell death.

The study by Michael A. Collins, PhD, and colleagues was reported Sept. 8 at the 14th Congress of the European Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism in Warsaw.

An earlier analysis by Collins and Loyola colleague Edward J. Neafsey, PhD, which pooled the results of 143 studies, found that moderate social drinking may reduce the risk of dementia and cognitive impairment. (Moderate drinking is defined as a maximum of two drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women.)

It appears that small amounts of alcohol might, in effect, make brain cells more fit. Alcohol in moderate amounts stresses cells and thus toughens them up to cope with major stresses down the road that could cause dementia. But too much alcohol overwhelms the cells, leading to inflammation and cell death.

Full story of fish oil and alcohol abusers at Science Daily

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