FDA Suggests Pregnant Women to Consume Low-Mercury Fish (Bing/ cherrylet/Flickr)
Women with higher levels of mercury also had higher levels of autoantibodies, certain proteins released by the body's immune system when it fails to identify healthy tissues. (Representational Image)Bing/ cherrylet/Flickr

Consuming fish as part of a diet can help prevent alcohol-related dementia, according to a new study.

Dementia is a syndrome related to the brain that leads to memory loss, difficulty in communicating, thinking, understanding, judgment, planning and the ability to perform daily routines.  According to the World Health Organization, nearly 35.6 million people around the world are affected with dementia and nearly 7.7 million new cases are reported every year.

Many factors increase the risk of dementia, including smoking, excess consumption of alcohol and being overweight. Research has also shown that several health conditions including, diabetes, low/high blood pressure, high cholesterol and depression increase a person's risk of developing dementia.

In the current study, researchers from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine studied brain cell cultures of adult rats in two different situations - being exposed only to high levels of alcohol and secondly, after being exposed to both high levels of alcohol and omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), that is found in fish oil. They found that the fish oil compound helped lower inflammation and cell death by 90 percent.

According to the study, small amounts of alcohol is beneficial for preventing dementia as it helps to strengthen brain cells. However, when the level of alcohol crosses the limit, it affects the brain cells negatively, further leading to inflammation and cell death.

"Fish oil has the potential of helping preserve brain integrity in abusers," Dr Michael A Collins, who conducted the study, said in a news release. "At the very least, it wouldn't hurt them."

Collins presented his findings at the 14th Congress of the European Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism in Warsaw, on Monday.

Research has shown several health advantages associated with eating fish. They include protection against heart disease, high blood pressure, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, stroke, kidney problems, dyspraxia, asthma and high cholesterol.

However, previous studies have shown that excess fish intake increased the risk of bleeding and lowered immunity system's activity.

Adding to the list is a new study published in Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which found that high levels of omega-3 fatty acid increased risk of prostate cancer in men by 43 percent. 

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