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Dr. Barry Sears
Dr. Barry Sears
President of Zone Labs
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Please visit the Zone Living Web Site for books like The Anti-Inflammation Zone, The Omega-Rx Zone, Zone Perfect Meals in Minutes, and more!
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Mind Matters

How Do I Reduce My Chances of Getting Alzheimer's?

Dr. Barry Sears
Zone Living The mind is the next frontier for medical science. Your brain contains thousands of unexplained mysteries. Researchers remain humbled by its complexities as they try to pinpoint the exact areas of the brain responsible for how you speak, feel love, learn to hate, and express creativity. Studies show that you have the potential to improve your brain function simply by giving your brain what it wants and avoiding the things it hates.

Previous population studies have pointed to the fact that people who live in countries where fish consumption is very high (such as Japan) have the lowest rates of depression in the world. Couple this with the fact that the amount of fish oil consumption in the American diet has been steadily decreasing over the past century, and you should be able to figure out why our rates of neurological disease such as depression, attention deficit disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease are skyrocketing. The average American’s dietary intakes of DHA (which is needed to maintain brain function) and EPA (which is necessary for improved blood flow and decreased inflammation) are now at dangerously low levels compared with what they were early in the twentieth century.

Alzheimer's disease is highly associated with the development of amyloid plaques in the brain, similar in many ways to the plaques that clog artery walls and eventually lead to heart attacks. In fact, people who have a genetic susceptibility to heart attacks (a variation in the Apo E protein) also have a far higher risk of developing Alzheimer's. Thus, a strategy to prevent both heart disease and Alzheimer's seems to make sense. In fact, Hippocrates stated this some 2,500 years ago when he said, "whatever is good for the heart, is probably good for the brain".

Since reducing inflammation is good for the heart (remember that aspirin is still the best drug to prevent heart attacks), then reducing inflammation should also be good for the mind (especially Alzheimer's). Perhaps, not surprisingly, people who are long-term users of anti-inflammatory drugs have a much lower incidence of Alzheimer's disease than the general population.

Is there an appropriate strategy to reduce the likelihood of developing Alzheimer's? Population studies have shown that people more than 85 years old who eat fish have a 40 percent smaller risk of developing Alzheimer's. Other research has shown that the brains of Alzheimer's patients have 30 percent less DHA than the brains of healthy individuals. In data from the landmark Framingham Heart Study, those patients who had lower levels of long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had a 67 percent greater likelihood of developing Alzheimer's. In fact, supplementation with DHA seems to improve the cognitive function of Alzheimer's patients, according to one intervention study. More ominous is that those individuals who consume the most Omega-6 fatty acids have a 250% increase in the development of Alzheimer's. Remember it is the over-consumption of Omega-6 fatty acids (such as those found in common vegetable oils) that leads to an increase in arachidonic acid formation that leads to the increase of inflammation.

A blood test called the AA/EPA ratio measures the amount of Omega 3 compared to Omega 6 in one’s blood as the benchmark for judging inflammation in the body. AA, or Arachidonic acid, is an Omega 6 fat that causes a pro-inflammatory hormonal response, while EPA, or Eicosapentaenoic acid, is an Omega 3 fat that causes an anti-inflammatory hormonal response. By balancing this AA/EPA level in the blood, one will be able to control inflammation. The ideal marker for wellness is an AA/EPA ratio of 1.5.

Therefore, we can theorize that too much inflammation increases your risk of Alzheimer's. This hypothesis is confirmed by recent studies that have looked at the AA/EPA ratio in Alzheimer's patients and age-matched controls.

The fact that Alzheimer's patients have double the AA/EPA ratio suggests that they have increased brain inflammation. In fact, Alzheimer's disease is now being considered primarily an inflammatory condition.

Excerpted from The Omega RX Zone: The Miracle of the New High-Dose Fish Oil by Dr. Barry Sears. Copyright© by Dr. Barry Sears.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. As with any natural product, individual results will vary.

For more information about Dr. Barry Sears, his incredible fish oil supplements, or the popular Zone Diet, please visit

If you purchase any Zone Labs, Inc. products, part of the proceeds support CBN ministries.

Dr. Barry Sears is a leader in the field of dietary control of hormonal response. A former research scientist at the Boston University School of Medicine and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Sears has dedicated his efforts over the past 25 years to the study of lipids and their inflammatory role in the development of chronic disease. He holds 13 U.S. patents in the areas of intravenous drug delivery systems and hormonal regulation for the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

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