In last week’s letters, I told you that – despite what conventional doctors say – “lost” memories aren’t necessarily gone for good.
And I shared a breakthrough therapy that’s helping patients bring them back.
Today, I want to talk about new research that proves you never have to have “missing” memories in the first place. Let me explain…
New research published in the journal Nutrients revealed that people with more DHA in their blood are almost 50% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those with lower amounts.
In the study, researchers from the Fatty Acid Research Institute examined data from the Framingham Offspring Cohort, which included 1,490 dementia patients aged 65 or older. Scientists observed the association of red blood cell DHA levels with incidents of Alzheimer’s.
They also tested DHA’s interaction with ApoE4, the “carrier gene,” which can double the chances of developing dementia.
At the end of the study, researchers found that the risk of developing Alzheimer’s plummeted by 49% in the group with the highest levels of DHA – providing almost five more years of life free of the disease.
But this isn’t the first time I’ve seen a study like this.
Earlier studies have shown that DHA can help improve memory and learning even in older adults with mild cognitive decline.
In a study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, scientists conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating DHA’s effects in 485 adults aged 55 and up. In just six months, the participants supplemented with DHA showed improved memory.2
But the most dramatic finding comes from a study out of UCLA. In this breakthrough study, researchers reversed Alzheimer’s in 90% of patients using DHA and vitamin D. I’ve seen the same results with my own patients. Even those with dementia and early Alzheimer’s.3
Here’s how this fatty acid works to improve memory…
As soon as it detects damage, DHA converts to a compound called neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1). This is one of your body’s first lines of defense when brain cells are threatened.4
NPD1 lowers inflammation in the hippocampus. This area of the brain is called the “seat of memory.”5 In other words, it stops the damage destroying your memory function. Not surprisingly, low levels of NPD1 have been found in patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. But you can turn that around by getting more DHA.
I’ve been telling my patients about increasing their DHA for a while now. And if you want to live your life to the fullest, you can’t afford not to.
You see, you’re not just risking your brain by avoiding it. Boosting DHA in the body helps to:
- Reduce heart disease risk
- Improve immunity
- Protect the brain from Alzheimer’s
- Fight inflammation
- Decrease depression
- Keep bones strong
Fortunately, it isn’t hard to turn everything around. You can start boosting your DHA intake immediately with simple lifestyle changes.
Protect your memories in 3 simple steps
You already know that some of the best sources of DHA come from the ocean. Cold-water, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, tuna, and herring are all rich in DHA. Good shellfish sources include shrimp, crab, lobster, and clams. But here are three more ways to get the most DHA into your diet:
- Eat more organ meat. Many people remain unaware that meat is an excellent DHA source. But not just any meat will do: Unless livestock is 100% grass-fed, its DHA content will be negligible. The best cuts are organ meats – liver, heart, and kidneys. These are also packed with other vital nutrients such as CoQ10, B vitamins, and protein.
- Don’t disregard dairy. One of my biggest gripes with mainstream medicine is how dairy has been slandered as “non-essential” or even as “unhealthy.” It’s nonsense. Dairy from pasture-raised animals contains healthy amounts of DHA – which is good for your brain and your body. When shopping at the store, make sure to hunt for milk taken from grass-fed sources.
- Supplement the right way. It’s hard to get the nutrients you need from your diet alone. So supplementing is the best way to get the highest healthy intake of DHA. Start by taking calamari oil. The best are sourced from the clean waters off the coast of South America. Then, combine it with krill oil – this will help pass it through cellular membranes. Finally, add in some astaxanthin. This helps the oils permeate your tissues where it’s needed and cross the blood-brain barrier more effectively. Always supplement with a meal for proper digestion. Aim to get between 600 mg and 1,000 mg of DHA every day. And make sure you take your supplement with meals so the DHA can be digested properly.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Sala-Vila A, et al. “Red blood cell DHA is inversely associated with risk of incident Alzheimer’s disease and all-cause dementia: Framingham Offspring study.” Nutrients. 2022;14(12):2408
2. Yurko-Mauro K, et al. “Beneficial effects of docosahexaenoic acid on cognition in age-related cognitive decline.” Alzheimer’s & Dementia. 2010;6(6):456-464
3. Cole GM and Frautschy SA. “DHA may prevent age-related dementia.” J Nutr. 2010;140(4):869–874.
4. Bazan NG, et al. “Docosahexaenoic acid and its derivative neuroprotectin D1 display neuroprotective properties in the retina, brain and central nervous system.” Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser. 2013;77:121-131.
5. Orr SK, et al. “Unesterified docosahexaenoic acid is protective in neuroinflammation.” J Neurochem. 2013;127(3):378-393.