New Study Shows Fish Oil Protects Against Brain Damage Caused by Alcohol Abuse
Among the many harmful effects alcohol has on the body, brain damage and dementia are at the top. A new study shows fish oil protects against brain damage caused by alcohol abuse. This study was published July 16, 2014, in the PLOS ONE journal. The study was conducted by Michael A. Collins, PhD, Edward J. Neafsey, PhD, and additional colleagues at Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine. They also collaborated with the University of Kentucky and the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Many human studies have shown that long term alcohol abuse causes brain damage. It was also found that long term alcohol abuse increases the risk of dementia. Collins and his colleagues tested out their study on adults rats, which is a very controversial method. Not only is it animal abuse, but are the results of experimenting on a rat that similar to that of a human?
These adult rats had their brain cells exposed, over several days, to concentrations of alcohol equal to around four times the legal limit for driving. The legal limit for the United States in 0.08. This level of alcohol is commonly seen in chronic alcoholics. The adult rat brain cultures were compared with cultures exposed to the same high levels of alcohol, but the researchers added a compound found in fish oil called omega-3 acid.
Fish oils rich in omega-3s, are an essential fatty acid that the body requires to function. These fish oils with omega-3 acid may protect against brain damage from chronic alcohol abuse and reduce the risk of dementia. They study showed that the fish oil compound protected against inflammation and neuronal cell death. Researchers found there was up to 90 percent less neuronal inflammation and death in the brain cells exposed to alcohol with the added omega-3 acids, than in the cells exposed to just the alcohol alone.
This fairly new study suggests that the omega-3 acids found in fish oil, did have an impact of on the brains cells. It is still unclear to what extent the fish oil plays in the process and how long the oil will help in preventing dementia. The researchers state the easiest way to prevent dementia or other types of brain damage due to alcohol abuse is to simply not abuse alcohol. Nevertheless, finding a way to slow down or stop the effects of alcohol abuse is a much needed study. If taking a few fish oil capsules everyday can help to prevent damage done by alcohol, for alcoholics, this would be a step in the right direction for their recovery. Knowing that you are causing damage to your body by drinking, can sometimes make the decision to drink more of an ultimatum, like choosing alcohol over your health. While that maybe exactly what it is, an alcoholic cannot see it that way. Most are unaware of the damage they are causing to their bodies, blinded by the need for next alcoholic drink.