A U.S. study published on February 2nd in the Journal of the American Medical Association, revealed that eating at least one seafood meal per week is linked to a reduced risk of having Alzheimer in older adults with a particular gene known as Apolipoprotein E (APOE).
Researchers from the Rush University Medical Center have found that eating seafood can be a lot beneficial for the brain and its protection. They examined the brain’s levels of mercury, which can be found in seafood and is known to be harmful to the nervous system. They found that seafood consumption was associated with increased mercury levels in the brain, particularly in older adults who regularly ate fish, but researchers said that they did not appear to suffer any harm from it, proving that there is no link between the neurotoxin and the kind of brain damage that is typical of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Researchers also found that eating moderate amounts of seafood may provide a protective effect for people with the APOE gene who can have risks for Alzheimer’s disease.
“Everybody’s saying seafood has so many health benefits, but everybody’s afraid of the mercury,” said lead author, Martha Clare Morris, professor of nutritional epidemiology at Rush University in Chicago. “We saw absolutely no evidence that higher levels of mercury in the brain were associated with any of the neuropathologies associated with dementia,” she said.
The study ran from 2004 to 2013 and data came from older people living in Chicago retirement homes or subsidized housing, who participated in a project named Rush’s Memory and Aging Project. All participants were free of dementia when they enrolled the research and they were required to take annual neurologic evaluations and brain autopsies at death. During the research, they were asked to describe their fish and seafood consumption among other foods.
The average death age was almost 90, and 67 % were women. They all answered dietary questionnaires for about four years before death. Of the 544 participants who died by 2013, about half had brain autopsies and the analysis are based on those results.
After autopsies, researchers found that the level of mercury in a person’s brain increased depending on the number of seafood meals the person ate per week.