Fatty fish can address the onset of nerve damage
03/31/2021 / By Winnie Martin / Comments
Fatty fish can address the onset of nerve damage

Nerve damage can occur to some of us as the years pass, and demyelination is one sign to watch out for. Demyelination happens when myelin, a material that coats the nerves, gets damaged over time. This causes problems in the brain and throughout the body, as demyelination affects the senses and bodily functions.

Demyelination is commonly caused by inflammation but can be triggered by other conditions such as oxygen loss, viral infections and metabolic problems. The effect of demyelination is lifelong, but there are treatments for this condition. One treatment includes promoting the growth of new myelin in damaged areas, but this results in thinner myelin and less effective signaling. Other treatments make use of drugs such as interferon beta-1a or glatiramer acetate that modulate the immune system’s response.

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But a 2017 study performed in Australia suggested that eating canned fatty fishes played a role in reducing the risk of nerve damage and multiple sclerosis (MS). Researchers looked at the link between canned fish consumption and the odds of the central nervous system developing demyelination. Nerve damage is one of the common signs that precede MS.

The study authors looked at grilled, fried and canned fish and how these three kinds of prepared fish affected the degree of demyelination development. They found that a higher intake of canned fish was connected to a lower risk of nerve damage. An equivalent of two servings every week – amounting to a daily consumption of 30 grams – merited the positive effect.

In addition, the researchers pointed out that grilled and fried fish were not associated with demyelination because they likely included white fish that has low amounts of vitamin D and omega-3.

Vitamin D and omega-3: Two important nutrients for brain health

The Australian study sheds light on the importance of two nutrients for the brain – vitamin D and omega-3 – which can be found in canned fish.

People with low levels of vitamin D may easily develop demyelinating conditions such as MS over time. However, high levels of vitamin D may reduce the inflammatory responses that exacerbate damage to myelin. There are two main ways that you can increase the level of vitamin D you get.

First, you can expose yourself to direct sunshine for 30 minutes each day. The body naturally produces vitamin D when sunlight hits your skin. Second, you can include foods rich in vitamin D in your diet. According to a fact sheet by the National Institutes of Health, fatty fishes and their oils are some of the best sources of this nutrient.

Fatty fishes and their oils are also excellent sources of omega-3. This nutrient is a key compound the brain needs to function properly, and insufficient amounts of omega-3 has been linked to an increase in mental problems. Fatty fishes and their oils contain two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids – eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

DHA can be found in the brain, with regular consumption of fatty and oily fishes supplementing this compound. Meanwhile, regularly eating fish can also augment your EPA intake. But to get DHA straight to the brain, EPA should be at least twice the amount of DHA.

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is the third kind of omega-3 fatty acid, and is the precursor to both EPA and DHA. Compared to the two other forms which are found in animal sources, ALA is mostly found in plant-based foods. Some examples of ALA-rich food you can include in your diet are ground flax seeds, spinach, chia seeds and walnuts.

It should be noted that while the body can convert ALA into EPA and DHA for the brain, only 20 percent of the body’s ALA content can be changed into these other forms. Also, excessive intake of ALA from plant-based sources may increase the level of polyunsaturated fatty acids in your body – that can easily turn rancid when exposed to oxygen. This may lead to oxidative stress in the long run.

Furthermore, eating too much canned fish may increase your risk of developing cancer. Some varieties of fatty and oily fish that are canned contain high levels of mercury and other toxic compounds. Too much canned fish may cause these to accumulate in your body, causing ailments in the long run.

But don’t let this turn you off from the wonders of canned fish! Having a can of tuna lets you enjoy the freshest catch and protects you from demyelination and nerve diseases!

Visit FishOils.news to read more about the benefits of canned fatty fishes against nerve damage!

Sources:

Healthline.com 1

ScienceDirect.com

ODS.OD.NIH.gov

Healthline.com 2

PsychologyToday.com

Heart.org

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