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Fish oil helps minimize cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's

Senior Wellness | May 20, 2015

Medicare Supplemental insurance plans will pay for the medical costs seniors face with Alzheimer's. However, avoiding the detrimental disease could be as easy as taking a daily supplement.

While fish oil has been touted for its wide array of health benefits, shown to promote weight loss, heart health, increase fertility and even lessen the adverse effects of depression, we can add another benefit to the list. According to the study published in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia, taking fish oil supplements on a daily basis can lessen cognitive decline and brain atrophy.

"We found that fish oil use was associated with better performance on standard tests of memory and thinking abilities over time, compared to those who didn't take supplements," Lori Daiello, the study's lead author and a research scientist at the Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders Center, told Yahoo. "They also experienced less brain shrinkage in areas of the brain important for healthy cognitive aging - the cerebral cortex and hippocampus, the portion of the brain responsible for forming and retaining memories."

Daiello added that the study revealed there was no evidence that eating fish was better than taking daily fish oil supplements. She did add that buyers need to beware when purchasing fish oil. Since they are supplements and not drugs, they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and many brands often exaggerate the amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which are the main ingredient in fish oil.

Diet and exercise may also help
A separate study from researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference, showed that healthy eating and regular exercise were effective in improving executive function, speed tests of cognitive skills and memory. These lifestyle interventions are a key to dealing with Alzheimer's disease, according to researchers, as it only took two years to notice improvements among those who were studied.

"These findings show that prevention is possible, and that it may be good to start early," Miia Kivipelto of the Karolinska Institute told Time. "With so many negative trials for Alzheimer's drugs reported lately, it's good that we may have something that everyone can do now to lower their risk."

Those looking to start taking preventative measures against Alzheimer's disease should do themselves a favor and take fish oil, eat right and exercise on a regular basis.