A Fishy Breakthrough in Stroke Recovery

It’s that time again. Time to add yet one more benefit to the towering list of positive things to say about fish oil.

Now researchers at Louisiana State University are saying that the oil, which is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, may be your best bet for recovery after a stroke. And, frankly, their findings are pretty amazing.

The animal study, published in the most recent issue of the journal Translational Stroke Research, found that when a component of fish oil, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), was administered intravenously at three, four, five, and six hours after a stroke lab rats showed a significant improvement in their recovery when compared with controls.

The DHA-treated rats had reduced swelling, reduced neurological deficits, and better overall neurobehavioral recovery after their strokes.

According to the head of the research team, Dr. Nicholas Bazan, the DHA triggered the production of a neuroprotective molecule called Neuroprotectin D1. Incredibly, this molecule not only salvaged brain tissue that would have died, it also repaired areas of the brain so thoroughly that just seven days after the DHA treatment they were indistinguishable from normal, previously undamaged areas.

Perhaps the most stunning news of all was that the area of destroyed tissue in the brains of the DHA-treated rats was reduced by an average of 59 percent five hours after the stroke!

While we don’t yet know if taking a daily fish-oil supplement will have the same post-stroke neuroprotective effects that intravenous DHA provides, all the many other benefits it does provide (from fighting arthritis pain to warding off high cholesterol) still make it a worthwhile supplement.

Just a few things to keep in mind when picking out a fish oil:

  • Be sure that what you’re choosing is not just any fish oil but one that contains omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Pick a brand that’s made from fish relatively low on the food chain, such as sardines, anchovies, or herring. There’s less chance of their accumulating a dangerous buildup of mercury. And if you can find one made from non-farmed fish, that’s even better. (Another good choice, admittedly pricier but also more environmentally friendly, is krill oil.)
  • Beware of filler oils! Check the label to be sure the total amount of DHA and EPA (omega-3 fatty acids) on the label equals the amount of total oil.
  • To be sure you’re getting fish oil that’s free of toxins, look for “99.99% pure” somewhere on the label.

      Also, keep in mind that fish oil can increase the levels of free radicals in your body so be sure to get plenty of neutralizing antioxidants, such as mixed-tocopherol vitamin E and selenium, as well.

      One thing’s for sure, this is one oil that doesn’t need to fish for compliments.

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Alice Wessendorf

An enthusiastic believer in the power of natural healing, Alice has spent virtually her entire 17-year career in the natural-health publishing field helping to spread the word.

She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com.  Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.

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  1. says

    If you want to get some of the fish oil benefits, you have to take a minimum amount at certain frequency.

    There are basically 2 types of omega 3, from vegetable and animal origin. The omega 3 present in vegetables is in the ALA omega 3 fats form which have to be converted by your body into the EPA and DHA Omega 3 fats. The animal omega 3 fats are already in the EPA and DHA form so they are readily available for assimilation. You only assimilate a 5 – 10% of the omega 3 in the ALA form.

    Therefore, it is more efficient to take fish oil, cod liver oil or krill oil than the flaxseeds or chia oils you find in the market.

    Make sure you take at least 900 mg of total omega 3 fats per day (EPA plus DHA from the label) to really get the benefits of omega 3.

    Best wishes,
    Alfredo E.

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