Latest News » Omega-3 fatty acids may preserve brain health post-stroke, study indicates

As well as promoting brain nutrition, DHA may limit damage done by a stroke.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 795,000 Americans suffer from a stroke each year. This event, which typically occurs when blood flow to a certain part of the brain has been obstructed, is the leading cause of disability in the country. High blood pressure and heart disease are both closely tied to stroke risk, so taking steps to either manage these conditions or prevent their onset is an essential aspect of reducing the likelihood of this occurrence, which is also called a "brain attack." 

If you do suffer from a stroke, getting immediate treatment is the best way to minimize its impact on your brain health and physical ability. Recently, researchers from the Columbia University Medical Center said that an emulsion injection containing omega-3 fatty acids shortly following a brain attack may help contain the damage this event has been known to cause.

ScienceDaily reports that, in contrast to current treatments for stroke that may restore healthy blood flow but can't necessarily revive cells that have already been harmed, the omega-3 infusion has the potential to protect the affected areas and possibly prevent cell death.

"In most clinical trials in the past, the compounds tested affected only one pathway. Omega-3 fatty acids, in contrast, are very bioactive molecules that target multiple mechanisms involved in brain death after stroke," senior author Dr. Richard Deckelbaum said, according to the source.

Upon administering the emulsion, which contained docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to mice who had suffered from a stroke up to two hours prior, Dr. Deckelbaum and his research team observed that brain cell death was decreased by as much as 50 percent. The senior author expressed the hope that these beneficial effects may also present themselves in humans even if the emulsion is injected within a greater window of time.

Omega-3 fatty acids – the nutritious compounds that lend fish its "brain food" reputation – can have substantial benefits for neurological health on a daily basis. Click for information about our DHA and brain support supplements.