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Eating fish protects the brain from cognitive impairment and dementia

Eating fish protects the brain from cognitive impairment and dementia

December 03, 2022

Eating fish is good for your memory, even in the case of neurodegeneration. This very important piece of news comes from a recent study published in the Nutrients journal thanks to the work of a Japanese team from Kansai Medical University in Osaka (Murakami et al, Nutrients, 2022).

Nutrition and the brain

Nutrition plays an essential role when it comes to protecting the brain and cognitive function from the risk of developing dementia over the years. Much has been said about fish since a high consumption of this food seems to protect against damage that can affect cerebral blood vessels, thus reducing the risk of developing cognitive impairment and dementia with age. In particular, when we talk about fish and its neuroprotective action, we always refer to its content in omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are, in fact, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substances, capable of protecting blood vessels and reducing cholesterol levels. However, studies carried out so far have not been able to show a clear link between the intake of omega 3 and the protection of cognitive function, also in the case of Alzheimer's. Benefits were observed only in the case of very mild Alzheimer's and in the early stages. However, fish does not only contain omega 3 but also proteins. Notably, a previous study found that fish proteins inhibit the formation of beta amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. In the research we are talking about today, scientists have evaluated the effects of fish proteins on cognitive function.

Fish proteins prevent memory loss, the study

In order to study the effect of fish intake, and therefore of its proteins, the researchers developed an experiment carried out in the laboratory on mice. The mice all had prematurely aged brains with impaired memory and learning ability and changes in brain structure similar to those seen in people with Alzheimer's. The mice were divided into three groups. The first group was given fish proteins, in particular Alaskan pollock, the second group was given fish oil containing omega 3 fatty acids and the third group was kept as a control. After 5 months, what emerged from analysis and tests is that fish proteins have been able to improve short-term memory in mice with premature aging and cognitive impairment. Not only that, the mice that had taken fish proteins did not show alterations in the morphology of the hippocampal axons. Axons are the branches of neurons that transmit signals to other neurons while the hippocampus is the part of the brain involved in the storage of information, therefore in memory, as well as being one of the first parts to be affected by any neurodegeneration. Fish oil allowed to reduce circulating cholesterol levels but was unable to bring an improvement in cognitive function nor did it protect the axons of the hippocampal neurons.

Conclusions

Therefore, eating fish is good for the brain and helps reduce the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. Hence the importance of including fish in your varied and balanced diet. In the research in question, the scientists limited themselves to evaluating the neuroprotective effects of pollock but certainly a possible development of the research could be the analysis of the action on the brain of other types of fish. The research then adds another detail, which makes us understand how important it is not to miss the fish. In fact, always the same research group has observed that fish proteins, in particular of Alaskan pollock, are able to reduce the risk of liver, home remedies" href="fatty-liver">fatty liver and, through an action of support to the microbiota, also to help regulate blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity.

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