Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Do fish oil supplements help in memory loss?

DHA in fish oil prevents the production and improves the clearing of unhealthy proteins in the brain that cause memory loss.

Executive Summary

Memory loss or dementia has no cure yet. Once you get dementia, some nerve cells are dead. You cannot revive them again. It is not clear what causes it. Perhaps, inflammation and vascular integrity are the culprits.

A study found that fish oils help prevent dementia in people, who have a genetic defect that puts them at the highest risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, a type of dementia.

The article explains how fish oil helps in preventing Alzheimer’s, with many medical references.

Dementia or memory loss is a serious medical condition. It usually afflicts one in old age. So far, there is no cure for this problem.

Some memory loss is expected as we age. However, abnormal memory loss is medical dementia. Read a comprehensive article on this website: Early warning signs of dementia. This will tell you how to distinguish between medical memory loss and routine memory loss due to old age.

The best option is to prevent dementia. Once you notice some of these signs, seek medical help. With timely intervention, dementia progression can be slowed down.

Causes of dementia

It is still not clear what causes dementia. There is probably no single cause. It is likely that multiple lifestyle factors contribute to the problem of memory loss.

Vascular integrity

One possibility is somehow the finer blood vessels in the brain develop weakness. This is because 25% of stroke patients develop dementia. In that case, nutrients such as B–vitamins that help in maintaining healthy blood vessels should help. Read on this website, a comprehensive article: Are B–vitamin deficiency and memory loss related?


A large body of research points to inflammation as one possible cause of memory. So, nutrients that help lower inflammation may be useful. One possibility is to use omega–3 fish oils, which are considered anti–inflammatory.

The study

A paper published in Jan 2017 in JAMA Neurology showed that fish oil consumption helped prevent memory loss in people who are at the highest risk of developing dementia.

Certain people have a strong genetic disposition to develop dementia. They have something called the apolipoprotein ε4 allele and are called carriers of it. They have one of the strongest risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease, one of the main types of dementia.


DHA supplements derived from fish oils help prevent the progression to memory loss.

DHA is an essential omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oils. In humans, it is found in the brain, liver, and many other places. It helps in the formation of synapses. It also helps in limiting the production of amyloid deposits, as well as helps clear toxic amyloid peptides. Both of these are known problems noticed in Alzheimer’s patients.

Once you have memory loss, nerve cells are dead. After that, no amount of fish oil will make them alive again. So once Alzheimer’s disease sets in, one can not reverse memory loss with fish oil.

A more technical discussion of this paper, on Medscape: DHA supplements linked to less progression to Alzheimer’s in APOE4 carriers.

Read on this website: Some ideas to prevent memory loss.

Here is a comprehensive article on this website: Omega–3 fatty acids and fish oils.

In conclusion

Start eating fish or taking fish oil supplements at least once a week, if you have mild cognitive complaints, or no complaints yet.

First published on: 7th February 2017
Image credit: Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


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