Joan from www.thealzheimerspouse.com
website asked me about a study (Danon, by Dannon Yogurt) using high levels of omega-3 for memory. Regarding fish oil, I believe that is very important to include lots of it in the diet, even more after reading a book that I am just finishing by Andrew Stoll, M.D., director of Neuropharmacology at Harvard, called "The Omega Connection." Coconut oil has everything you might want in an oil, including the essential omega-6, but has absolutely none of the essentail omega-3 fatty acids, which are needed in every cell membrane, for normal cell signaling and other functions, and is a very large component of the lipids in the brain. Much of it is passed from mother to child and Dr. Stoll believes that Americans have been losing the normal amounts we should have with each generation due to the way we eat. Americans have been found to be very deficient compared to other populations, and Dr. Joseph Hibbeln, a researcher at the NIH, has found that there is a direct correlation between omega 3 levels in populations throughout the world and frequency of problems like depression, bipolar disease, high blood pressure, heart disease, schizophrenia, dementia, diabetes, premature birth, etc, etc. For example, among the populations they studied, Japan has the highest fish intake (140 pounds per person per year!!) and the highest levels of omega-3 and the lowest rates of these diseases. The also have one of the lowest incidences of premature birth and infant mortality in the world. What researchers have learned is that omega-6 promotes vasoconstriction and is inflammatory (part of our immune response) and omega-3 promotes vasodilation and is anti-inflammatory. They balance each other. The American diet is so out of whack that instead of the 2:1 or 1:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 that would be desirable, Americans consume something like a 20 or 40:1 ratio, since we mostly eat soybean, cannola and olive oil which are high in omega 6 and have little or no omega-3 relatively speaking.
For several years, Steve and I have been taking enough fish oil to equal at least 900 mg per day of the DHA part of the oil. We started doing this because there was a study in progress using this amount. I know that omega-3 is an essential fatty acid and didn't want to risk getting the placebo, so we just started using it. After reading Dr. Stoll's book, we are going to be taking at least twice that much. There are some concentrated fish oils that you can take by the teaspoon that are tested to rule out heavy metal contamination, such as mercury, that we are using instead of capsules because of how many we would need to take. We also eat salmon, fesh tuna and other fish at least twice a week.
Our diet has changed dramatically over the last three to four years to try to get away from overly processed foods to more whole foods, since these contain anti-oxidants and other imprtant phytonutrients that we wouldn't get otherwise. I have actually lost about 80 pounds since we started doing this around 2006! In my diet guidelines I encourage people to also include omega-3s in the diet.