Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce risk of Lou Gehrig’s disease

Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in vegetable oils, some green vegetables, nuts, and certain fish, may lower the risk of developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the fatal neurodegenerative disease commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. A new study by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers and colleagues found that the highest 20% of omega-3 fatty acid consumers were a third less likely develop ALS compared with the 20% who ate the lowest amount of omega-3s.

The study was published July 14, 2014 in JAMA Neurology.

The researchers analyzed the health information of more than a million people participating in five previously published studies. A total of 995 cases of ALS were documented in these studies.

“Future studies are needed to establish whether increasing omega-3 intake might be helpful for people with ALS,” said Kathryn Fitzgerald, a nutrition researcher at HSPH.

Read study abstract: Dietary ω-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Intake and Risk for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Read WebMD coverage: Omega-3s May Help Ward Off Lou Gehrig’s Disease