Omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid or DHA has grown in popularity as a supplement that supports brain health. Several studies have shown that that omega-3s help combat cancer, depression, asthma, cardiovascular disease, ADHD, and autoimmune diseases. DHA is beneficial for a magnitude of conditions because it targets inflammation, the root of many diseases. And just last week a study revealed that DHA can mitigate the side effects of alcohol abuse – namely, inflammation in the brain.
Long-term alcohol abuse can cause what is known as “wet brain” or alcoholic brain damage and dementia. To determine if DHA could help these negative effects of alcohol, scientists from Loyola University gave rats large quantities of alcohol for several days. They then gave some of the rats fish oil containing DHA and found that they had 90% lower brain cell death and inflammation of the brain than those not given DHA.
According to the study lead, Michael Collins, “Fish oil has the potential of helping preserve brain integrity in chronic alcohol abusers.” Obviously further research is needed to see if the same outcomes will persist in human trials. But at the very least, alcoholics in recovery have nothing to lose consuming DHA because of the many aforementioned benefits. Our Colorado addiction treatment center encourages healthy eating in early recovery to restore lost nutrients during active addiction. Several supplements, such as B complex vitamins, can support brain function and mood, and this study may motivate adding fish oil to a vitamin or diet regimen for all recovering addicts – not just those suffering the consequences of long term alcohol abuse.