Omega-3 reduces stroke severity

Aug. 27, 2011 at 12:07 AM

LAVAL, Quebec, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- A diet rich in omega-3s, found in fatty fish like salmon, reduces the severity of brain damage after a stroke, researchers in Canada say.

Jasna Kriz and Frederic Calon of the Universite Laval showed the extent of brain damage following a stroke was reduced by 25 percent in mice that consumed DHA type omega-3s daily.

Researchers observed that the effects of stroke were less severe in mice that had been fed a diet rich in DHA for three months than in mice fed a control diet.

In mice from the DHA group, they saw a reduction in the concentrations of molecules that stimulate tissue inflammation and, conversely, a larger quantity of molecules that prevent the activation of cell death.

"This is the first convincing demonstration of the powerful anti-inflammatory effect of DHA in the brain," the researchers say. "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."

The consumption of omega-3s creates an anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective environment in the brain that mitigates damage following a stroke, Kriz says.

"It prevents an acute inflammatory response that, if not controlled, is harmful to brain tissue."

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