Tag Archives: California Office of Environmental Health Hazard

American Academy of Neurology study: Does eating fish protect our brains from air pollution?

26 Jul

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment wrote in Benefits and Risks of Eating Fish:

Benefits of eating fish

Fish are an important part of a healthy, well-balanced diet. They provide a good source of protein and vitamins, and are a primary dietary source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids can:
    • lower risk of heart disease
    • lower triglyceride levels
    • slow the growth of plaque in your arteries
    • and slightly lower blood pressure
  • Omega-3 fatty acids may also provide health benefits to developing babies.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women can pass this nutrient to their baby by eating the right kind of fish.
  • Fish species that have higher levels of omega-3s are shown with a heart icon () when OEHHA recommends that they can be eaten at least once a week.

Risks of eating fish

While eating fish has nutritional benefits, it also has potential risks. Fish can take in harmful chemicals from the water and the food they eat. Chemicals like mercury and PCBs can build up in their bodies over time.

  • High levels of mercury and PCBs can harm the brain and nervous system.
  • Mercury can be especially harmful to fetuses, infants, and children because their bodies are still developing.
  • PCBs can cause cancer and other harmful health effects.

Reduce your risk

There is no way to tell the level of chemicals in a fish by simply looking at it or tasting it.  Fortunately, there are easy things you can do to reduce your risk, and enjoy the health benefits of eating fish:

  • Check if there are advisories for water bodies where you fish.
  • Follow our advisories (Watch our video to learn how) by picking species that are lower in mercury and other harmful chemicals.
  • Follow our general tips for catching and preparing fish.

While there are potential risks to consider, there are many health benefits of eating fish. If you avoid eating fish entirely, you won’t benefit from the nutrients that fish can provide. By following our fish advisories and properly cleaning, preparing, and cooking fish, you can safely enjoy the health benefits of eating fish.

Benefits and Risks of Eating Fish                                                                                                            https://oehha.ca.gov/fish/benefits-risks

Resources:

11 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Eating Fish                                                          https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-health-benefits-of-fish#section11

The benefits of eating fish                                                                                                 http://seafood.edf.org/benefits-eating-fish

Health Benefits of Fish                                                                                                                           https://www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/Food/Fish/HealthBenefits

Science Daily reported in Does eating fish protect our brains from air pollution?

Older women who eat more than one to two servings a week of baked or broiled fish or shellfish may consume enough omega-3 fatty acids to counteract the effects of air pollution on the brain, according to a new study published in the July 15, 2020, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Researchers found that among older women who lived in areas with high levels of air pollution, those who had the lowest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had more brain shrinkage than women who had the highest levels.

“Fish are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and easy to add to the diet,” said study author Ka He, M.D., Sc.D., of Columbia University in New York. “Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to fight inflammation and maintain brain structure in aging brains. They have also been found to reduce brain damage caused by neurotoxins like lead and mercury. So we explored if omega-3 fatty acids have a protective effect against another neurotoxin, the fine particulate matter found in air pollution.”

The study involved 1,315 women with an average age of 70 who did not have dementia at the start of the study. The women completed questionnaires about diet, physical activity, and medical history.

Researchers used the diet questionnaire to calculate the average amount of fish each woman consumed each week, including broiled or baked fish, canned tuna, tuna salad, tuna casserole and non-fried shellfish. Fried fish was not included because research has shown deep frying damages omega-3 fatty acids.

Participants were given blood tests. Researchers measured the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in their red blood cells and then divided the women into four groups based on the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood.

Researchers used the women’s home addresses to determine their three-year average exposure to air pollution. Participants then had brain scans with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure various areas of the brain including white matter, which is composed of nerve fibers that send signals throughout the brain, and the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with memory.

After adjusting for age, education, smoking and other factors that could affect brain shrinkage, researchers found that women who had the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood had greater volumes of white matter than those with the lowest levels. Those in the highest group had 410 cubic centimeters (cm3) white matter, compared to 403 cm3 for those in the lowest group. The researchers found that for each quartile increase in air pollution levels, the average white matter volume was 11.52 cm3 smaller among people with lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids and 0.12 cm3 smaller among those with higher levels.

Women with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood also had greater volumes of the hippocampus…                                                                                                                                        https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200715163555.htm

Citation:

Does eating fish protect our brains from air pollution?

Date:     July 15, 2020

Source:  American Academy of Neurology

Summary:

Older women who eat more than one to two servings a week of baked or broiled fish or shellfish may consume enough omega-3 fatty acids to counteract the effects of air pollution on the brain, according to a new study.

Journal Reference:

Cheng Chen, View ORCID ProfilePengcheng Xun, View ORCID ProfileJoel D. Kaufman, Kathleen M. Hayden, Mark A. Espeland, Eric A. Whitsel, Marc L. Serre, William Vizuete, Tonya Orchard, William S. Harris, Xinhui Wang, Helena C. Chui, Jiu-Chiuan Chen, Ka He. Erythrocyte omega-3 index, ambient fine particle exposure and brain agingNeurology, 2020 DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000010074

Here is the press release from the American Academy of Neurology:

NEWS RELEASE 15-JUL-2020

Does eating fish protect our brains from air pollution?

AMERICAN ACADEMY OF NEUROLOGY

MINNEAPOLIS – Older women who eat more than one to two servings a week of baked or broiled fish or shellfish may consume enough omega-3 fatty acids to counteract the effects of air pollution on the brain, according to a new study published in the July 15, 2020, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Researchers found that among older women who lived in areas with high levels of air pollution, those who had the lowest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had more brain shrinkage than women who had the highest levels.

“Fish are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and easy to add to the diet,” said study author Ka He, M.D., Sc.D., of Columbia University in New York. “Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to fight inflammation and maintain brain structure in aging brains. They have also been found to reduce brain damage caused by neurotoxins like lead and mercury. So we explored if omega-3 fatty acids have a protective effect against another neurotoxin, the fine particulate matter found in air pollution.”

The study involved 1,315 women with an average age of 70 who did not have dementia at the start of the study. The women completed questionnaires about diet, physical activity, and medical history.

Researchers used the diet questionnaire to calculate the average amount of fish each woman consumed each week, including broiled or baked fish, canned tuna, tuna salad, tuna casserole and non-fried shellfish. Fried fish was not included because research has shown deep frying damages omega-3 fatty acids.

Participants were given blood tests. Researchers measured the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in their red blood cells and then divided the women into four groups based on the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood.

Researchers used the women’s home addresses to determine their three-year average exposure to air pollution. Participants then had brain scans with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure various areas of the brain including white matter, which is composed of nerve fibers that send signals throughout the brain, and the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with memory.

After adjusting for age, education, smoking and other factors that could affect brain shrinkage, researchers found that women who had the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood had greater volumes of white matter than those with the lowest levels. Those in the highest group had 410 cubic centimeters (cm3) white matter, compared to 403 cm3 for those in the lowest group. The researchers found that for each quartile increase in air pollution levels, the average white matter volume was 11.52 cm3 smaller among people with lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids and 0.12 cm3 smaller among those with higher levels.

Women with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood also had greater volumes of the hippocampus.

“Our findings suggest that higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood from fish consumption may preserve brain volume as women age and possibly protect against the potential toxic effects of air pollution,” said He. “It’s important to note that our study only found an association between brain volume and eating fish. It does not prove that eating fish preserves brain volume. And since separate studies have found some species of fish may contain environmental toxins, it’s important to talk to a doctor about what types of fish to eat before adding more fish to your diet.”

A limitation of the study was that most participants were older white women, so the results cannot be generalized to others. Also, researchers were only able to examine exposures to later-life air pollution, not early or mid-life exposures, so future studies should look at exposures to air pollution across a person’s lifespan.

###

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more about the brain at BrainandLife.org, home of the American Academy of Neurology’s free patient and caregiver magazine focused on the intersection of neurologic disease and brain health. Follow Brain & Life® on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

When posting to social media channels about this research, we encourage you to use the hashtags #Neurology and #AANscience.

The American Academy of Neurology is the world’s largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with over 36,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit AAN.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Media Contacts:

Renee Tessman, rtessman@aan.com, (612) 928-6137
M.A. Rosko, mrosko@aan.com, (612) 928-6169

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics wrote in Healthy Eating for Older Adults which was reviewed by Esther Ellis, MS, RDN, LDN:

Eating a variety of foods from all food groups can help supply the nutrients a person needs as they age. A healthy eating plan emphasizes fruit, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free dairy; includes lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts; and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, salt (sodium) and added sugars.

Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with these recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans:

·         Eat fruits and vegetables. They can be fresh, frozen or canned. Eat more dark green vegetables such as leafy greens or broccoli, and orange vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes.
·         Vary protein choices with more fish, beans and peas.
·         Eat at least three ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice or pasta every day. Choose whole grains whenever possible.
·         Have three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy (milk, yogurt or cheese) that are fortified with vitamin D to help keep your bones healthy.
·         Make the fats you eat polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Switch from solid fats to oils when preparing food.
Add Physical Activity
Balancing physical activity and a healthful diet is the best recipe for health and fitness. Set a goal to be physically active at least 30 minutes every day — this even can be broken into three 10-minute sessions throughout the day.
For someone who is currently inactive, it’s a good idea to start with a few minutes of activity, such as walking, and gradually increase this time as they become stronger. And always check with a health-care provider before beginning a new physical activity program.                                                                                       https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/dietary-guidelines-and-myplate/healthy-eating-for-older-adults

 

The bottom line is, I’m blessed with good health. On top of that, I don’t go around thinking ‘Oh, I’m 90, I better do this or I better do that.’ I’m just Betty. I’m the same Betty that I’ve always been. Take it or leave it.

Betty White

 

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