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August 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 6)

Omega-3 fish oils protect the brain after a stroke
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Omega-3 fish oils protect the brain after a stroke image

Taking omega-3 fatty acids after a stroke could help repair any damage to the brain, a new study suggests.

The fish oils protect organs and cells after oxygen deprivation—as happens after a stroke—and help reduce inflammation and cell death. The oils need to be rich in DHA fat; the EPA fats don’t seem to have the same protective effect, say researchers from Columbia University Medical Centre.

Their research is limited to mice studies at the moment, but the researchers are hopeful they would see similar results in humans. For their experiment, they gave

mice that had suffered brain injuries doses of either EPA or DHA fatty acids, components of omega-3.

Even after one day, the mice given DHA were showing big improvements over those given only EPA or nothing at all. The ‘power cells’ in the brain, the mitochondria, had high levels of DHA; these are often injured after a stroke when blood flow is restored to the brain in a process known as reperfusion injury, a common cause of brain damage following oxygen and nutrient deprivation.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold-water fish and in supplements.


References

(Source: PLOS ONE, 2016; 11(8): e0160870)

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