Teachers, parents, and doctors have recommended adding fish to our diets for basic health reasons. Studies now suggest that eating fish reduces the chances of suffering Alzheimer’s.
According to the study conducted by researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and published in JUMA, eating seafood is in fact linked to physical changes in people who carry the ApoE4 gene variation that causes Alzheimer’s.
The question that arises is can this benefit actually offset the effects of mercury. The study suggests including at least one serving of seafood per week. Scientists then directed their efforts into looking at the intricate relationship between seafood, mercury, fatty acids, and dementia.
The study started in 1997 when a group of older adults living in the Chicago area were interviewed about their diets. A subset of 286 participants who died between the years 2004 and 2013 had their brains autopsied to check for levels of mercury.
Those who claimed to have eaten seafood on a regular basis indeed had higher levels of mercury but there was no indication of any damage caused by it. In fact, those who reported eating seafood at least once a week had the least incidences of traces of Alzheimer’s disease, such as amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles.
In general, those who were less likely to have the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s presented a 47% reduced chance.
The lead author, Martha Clare Morris, said that there is no indication that mercury has any negative effect on older people. “Most studies in dementia have found that one seafood meal a week is beneficial,” she said, though “they haven’t found that the more you eat, the lower the risk.”