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Dysfunctional Liver Process Prevents Omega-3 DHA From Protecting The Alzheimer’s Brain

September 8, 2010: 06:55 AM EST

U.S. researchers have found that a malfunctioning enzyme system in the liver can reduce the flow of the neuroprotective omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and may contribute to cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease patients. The scientists found that when the liver enzyme system that provides DHA to the brain isn't working properly, DHA levels drop in the temporal cortex, mid-frontal cortex and cerebellum of Alzheimer’s patients, compared to control subjects. DHA in the liver was also found to be lower in Alzheimer’s patients than in control subjects. The researchers concluded that “a deficit in D-bifunctional protein activity impairs DHA acid biosynthesis in the livers of Alzheimer’s disease patients, lessening the flux of this neuroprotective fatty acid to the brain.”

Giuseppe Astarita, et al., "Deficient Liver Biosynthesis of Docosahexaenoic Acid Correlates with Cognitive Impairment in Alzheimer’s Disease", PlosOne, September 08, 2010, © Creative Commons Attribution License
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