Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Protect Against Parkinson's, Study Says

Date:
November 26, 2007
Source:
Laval University
Summary:
Omega-3 fatty acids protect the brain against Parkinson's disease, according to a new study. Parkinson's disease is caused by the progressive death of the neurons responsible for producing dopamine, a neurotransmitter closely linked with movement control.

Omega-3 fatty acids protect the brain against Parkinson's disease, according to a study by Université Laval researchers.  This study, supervised by Frederic Calon and Francesca Cicchetti, is the first to demonstrate the protective effect of a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids against Parkinson's.

Parkinson's disease is caused by the progressive death of the neurons responsible for producing dopamine, a neurotransmitter closely linked with movement control. The disease is usually diagnosed when 50 to 80% of these neurons are already dead, and there is currently no medication to stop that process.

The Université Laval research team's findings could help prevent the disease and, potentially, slow down its progression.

The researchers observed that when mice were fed an omega-3 rich diet, they seemed immune to the effect of MPTP, a toxic compound that causes the same damage to the brain as Parkinson's. "This compound, which has been used for more than 20 years in Parkinson's research, works faster than the disease itself and is just as effective in targeting and destroying the dopamine-producing neurons in the brain," points out Calon.

By contrast, another group of mice that were fed an ordinary diet developed the characteristic symptoms of the disease when injected with MPTP, including a 31% drop in dopamine-producing neurons and a 50% decrease in dopamine levels.

Analyses revealed that omega-3 fatty acids--in particular DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), a specific type of omega-3--had replaced the omega-6 fatty acids already present in the brains of the mice that had been given omega-3 supplementation.

"This demonstrates both the importance of diet on the brain's fatty acid composition and the brain's natural inclination for omega-3 fatty acids," observes Calon. Since concentrations of other types of omega-3's had remained similar in both groups of mice, researchers suggest that the protective effect against Parkinson's comes essentially from DHA.

Another conclusion to be drawn from this finding is that a brain containing a lot of omega-6 fatty acids may be a fertile ground for Parkinson's disease. These fatty acids, abundant in foods rich in either vegetable oil or animal fat, are already under suspicion for their role in the body's inflammatory response, cardiac disease, arthritis, and Alzheimer's. In a balanced diet, the ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids should be 4 to 1. However, the average Western diet contains 10 to 20 times more omega-6's than omega-3's.

"In North America, the average intake of DHA is between 60 to 80 mg a day, while experts recommend a daily minimum of 250 mg," explains Calon. "Our results suggest that this DHA deficiency is a risk factor for developing Parkinson's disease, and that we would benefit from evaluating omega-3's potential for preventing and treating this disease in humans," concludes the researcher.

This research was published in the online edition of the FASEB Journal, the journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Print version of the article will be published in the April 2008.

In addition to Calon and Cicchetti, the study was co-authored by Mélanie Bousquet, Carl Julien, and Martine Saint-Pierre from Université Laval, and by Norman Salem Jr. from the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Laval University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Laval University. "Omega-3 Fatty Acids Protect Against Parkinson's, Study Says." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071126110453.htm>.
Laval University. (2007, November 26). Omega-3 Fatty Acids Protect Against Parkinson's, Study Says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071126110453.htm
Laval University. "Omega-3 Fatty Acids Protect Against Parkinson's, Study Says." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071126110453.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) — Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nigeria Ups Ebola Stakes on 1st Death

Nigeria Ups Ebola Stakes on 1st Death

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) — Nigerian authorities have shut and quarantined a Lagos hospital where a Liberian man died of the Ebola virus, the first recorded case of the highly-infectious disease in Africa's most populous economy. David Pollard reports Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Running 5 Minutes A Day Might Add Years To Your Life

Running 5 Minutes A Day Might Add Years To Your Life

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — According to a new study, just five minutes of running or jogging a day could add years to your life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Poses Little Threat To U.S.: CDC

Ebola Outbreak Poses Little Threat To U.S.: CDC

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — The Ebola outbreak in West Africa poses little threat to Americans, according to officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins