February 15, 2011
TEL AVIV, IsraelA diet rich in omega-3s may benefit individuals who carry the Alzheimers-related apolipoprotein E. gene (APOE4) by reducing the genes negative effects, according to new research from Tel Aviv University.
The lipoprotein APOE is known to be influenced by the good oil found in fish and comes in two formsa "good" APOE gene and a "bad" APOE gene, APOE4 that is found in 50 percent of all Alzheimer's patients and 15 percent of the general population.
Researchers at Tel Aviv University's Department of Neurobiology at the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences investigated the effects of three dietsa normal diet, a "bad" diet high in cholesterol, and a "good" diet high in fish oiland environment on carriers of APOE4.
They found that while a rich and stimulating environment stimulated the formation of new neuronal connections in the "good APOE" mice, it caused the death of brain neurons in the "bad APOE" mice. They found a diet high in omega-3 oils and low in cholesterol significantly reduced the negative effects of the APOE4 gene in mouse models.
"The main take-away message here is that good diets can alleviate the effects of bad genes. Of course nutritionists have had this general idea for a while, but it's nice to be able to show that this approach can be applied to specifically counteract the negative effects of Alzheimer's disease-related genes," the researchers said.
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