Thursday, August 21, 2014

Consuming Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help Reduce Risk for ALS

ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, motor neuron disease or Lou Gehrig’s) awareness has been blowing up the internet the past few weeks with the “Ice Bucket Challenge.” This challenge has been used to imitate the sensation of those with the disease due to the conscious feeling of ice water being dumped on the body and numbness felt by the individual completing the challenge. Though the brain still has cognitive functions, those with the disease experience limited mobility due to the inability for the brain to send messages to the limbs.

Recent research has suggested that consuming omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk for developing ALS. By observing the diets of over 1 million participants, researchers found a decreased risk of ALS when dietary intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)  and ALA (alpha linolenic acid) was higher. Further research should be carried out in order to support these findings.

Foods high in omega-3 PUFA include: flax seeds, walnuts, sardines, salmon, soybeans, tofu, shrimp and brussel sprouts.

Good sources of ALA include: canola oil, green vegetables including kale and spinach, as well as flax seeds and walnuts. 

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