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Diet with enough alpha-linolenic acid protects against dementia
Walnuts, chia seeds, linseed and other plant products contain alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. If you don't consume enough of this you may be more likely to develop dementia than if your diet does contain enough alpha-linolenic acid. Researchers at the University of Tsukuba in Japan report on this in Clinical Nutrition.
315 participants developed dementia during the decade 1994-2004. In their study the researchers compared the blood composition of these participants with that of 630 participants who did not have dementia.
However, the amount of alpha-linolenic acid in the blood of the participants did correlate with the likelihood of developing dementia: the participants with relatively low levels of alpha-linolenic acid in their blood developed dementia almost twice as often as the participants with a higher level of this omega-3 fatty acid.
An exceptionally high intake of alpha-linolenic acid did not offer extra protection against dementia, and the figure above even suggests that the protective effect is less at very high intake levels.
"Although the causality needs to be confirmed by randomized control trials, we identified serum alpha-linolenic acid as a biomarker that predicts future dementia."