Does eating oily fish protect against senile dementia?

A UK study conducted by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has cast doubt on claims that eating oily fish can protect against dementia in old age.

In recent years, there has been increasing interest in diet as a way of preventing dementia. Much focus has been on omega 3 fatty acids found in oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel, because they would be neuroprotective.

Data from a trial of more than 800 older people initially showed that those who eat plenty of oily fish seem to have better cognitive function. But when the researchers took into account education and psychological health the association between oily fish consumption and cognitive function almost disappeared.

"What this shows is there is a link between people who eat oily fish and better cognitive function, but if you adjust for education and mood this relationship goes, so it's not at all clear that healthy older people get any benefit from eating fish oil", said study leader Dr Alan Dangour.

However, experts advise eating oily fish regularly, because there are proven benefits on the heart.

For more information see the LSHTM publication >>

Cousteau's advice: To take care of your health, eat oily fish BUT please choose fish coming from sustainable fisheries (more on sustaniable fisheries on www.msc.org)