Omega-3 fatty acids decrease stroke severity

In a study published in the journal Stroke, Université Laval researchers reveal that the severity of brain damage after a stroke can be reduced by consuming a diet rich in omega-3s. Mice that were administered DHA type omega-3 fatty acids demonstrated a 25% less brain damage following a stroke, according to the team co-directed by professors Jasna Kriz and Frédéric Calon.

Compared to mice on a control diet, those that were fed a DHA rich diet for three months had reduced stroke severity. Mice in the DHA group had decreased concentrations of tissue inflammation molecules and increased numbers of cell-death prevention molecules.

Frédéric Calon of Université Laval’s Faculty of Pharmacy stated, “This is the first convincing demonstration of the powerful anti-inflammatory effect of DHA in the brain. This protective effect results from the substitution of molecules in the neuronal membrane: DHA partially replaces arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid known for its inflammatory properties.”

Jasna Kriz, of Université Laval’s Faculty of Medicine said, “The consumption of omega-3s creates an anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective environment in the brain that mitigates damage following a stroke. It prevents an acute inflammatory response that, if not controlled, is harmful to brain tissue.”

According to Professor Calon, humans can benefit from the anti-inflammatory effect that may be transferable. He concluded, “Since DHA is readily available, inexpensive, and reduces the risk of a number of health problems without causing significant side effects, the risk-benefit ratio tends to favor the regular consumption of fish or DHA.”
Study co-authors include Mélanie Lalancette-Hébert, Pierre Cordeau, Carl Julien, Ivan Bohacek, and Yuan-Cheng Weng.

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