New Brain Food: DHA

A groundbreaking study at Tufts University has identified the major fatty acid in fish oil that appears to protect brains against dementia and Alzheimer's disease.  It's DHA or docosahexaenoic acid.

Among a big group of elderly Americans, those with the highest levels of DHA were about half as apt to develop dementia and 39% as apt to develop Alzheimer's as those with lower blood levels of DHA over a nine year period.  The top 25% of those with the highest blood DHA got about 180 mg DHA a day, or three servings of fish per week, researchers said.  Eat salmon, it's particularly high in DHA.  In this study, the other major fatty acid in fish oil, EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid, had no effect on dementia or Alzheimer's.

EPA does have positive effects on lowering cholesterol levels and turning bad cholesterol (LDL) in to good cholesterol (HDL).