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Omega-3 may prevent Parkinson’s


December 6, 2007
By Bakers Journal

November 28, 2007 – Toronto, Ont. – Omega-3 Fatty Acids may play a role in
preventing Parkinson’s Disease, according to two Quebec scientists funded by Parkinson Society Canada. In a study at Laval University
published in the on-line FASEB Journal, (Federation of American
Societies for Experimental Biology) Drs. Francesa Cicchetti and
Frédéric Calon showed that laboratory mice fed a diet rich in omega-3
fatty acids, had a lower rate of dopamine loss when subjected to MPTP,
a chemical that mimics the dopamine loss that occurs in people with
Parkinson’s Disease. Loss of dopamine producing cells causes symptoms
of Parkinson’s disease to appear. These neurotransmitters are
responsible for movement.

November 28, 2007 – Toronto, Ont. – Omega-3 Fatty Acids may play a role in preventing Parkinson’s Disease according to two Quebec scientists, funded by Parkinson Society Canada. In a study at Laval University published in the on-line FASEB Journal, (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) Drs. Francesa Cicchetti and Frédéric Calon showed that laboratory mice fed a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, had a lower rate of dopamine loss when subjected to MPTP, a chemical that mimics the dopamine loss that occurs in people with Parkinson’s Disease. Loss of dopamine producing cells causes symptoms of Parkinson’s disease to appear. These neurotransmitters are responsible for movement.
In the study, four groups of eight mice each were used. Two groups were fed a diet high in DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), a specific type of omega-3. Two groups had no DHA diet. Half of the mice were given MPTP, a toxic compound that causes similar effects on the brain as Parkinson’s. The mice that were fed the DHA and received MPTP did not lose the dopamine cells suggesting that the DHA offered protection from the MPTP.
"If we can extrapolate this data to humans, reasonably high consumption of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish such as salmon and tuna, some types of eggs, and dietary supplements, are likely to have a positive effect in humans,” said Dr. Calon. “Many people don’t have enough omega-3 fatty acids in their diets and could be at potential risk for neurological diseases,” he added.
Low dietary consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with a higher risk of neurodegenerative diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential nutrient that the body cannot produce but that are found in foods such as fish and canola oil or in dietary supplements.
“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 Dr. Calon.

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