Omega-3 and CBD beneficial for brain function

Omega-3 and Alzheimer’s disease

People with a gene mutation known as APOE4 (E4) are four times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Doctors thought those with E4 would need larger doses of the omega-3 DHA—one of the most prevalent fatty acids in the brain—to have adequate levels in their brain matter.

In this six-month study, 33 men and women, 15 with E4, at least age 55, with a family history of AD, but without the disease themselves, took a placebo or 2,152 mg of DHA per day, which included 0.1 percent EPA. Both groups restricted other polyunsaturated fatty acids, and took B complex vitamins including 1 mg of vitamin B12, 100 mg of B6, and 800 mcg of folic acid per day. B-vitamins help the body process omega-3s.

Discussing the findings, doctors said, “E4 carriers, despite having the same dose, had less omega-3s in the brain.” E4 carriers also had one-third the increase of EPA in spinal fluid compared to non-E4 participants.

CBD increases brain blood flow

CBD may improve medical conditions relating to memory processing, but doctors don’t know how it works. In this study, 15 healthy adults with little or no history of cannabis took a placebo or 600 mg of oral CBD, after which doctors measured blood flow to the hippocampus, the area of the brain involved in memory.

Compared to placebo, those taking CBD saw blood flow to the hippocampus increase significantly. Blood flow also increased in the orbitofrontal cortex, the area of the brain involved in decision-making.

Doctors said CBD changes how the brain processes emotional memories, which may help explain its benefit in PTSD and other psychiatric disorders.


Reference: The Lancet; 2020, PIIS2352-3964(20)30258-9



January 2021

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