Study finds liver may be part of Alzheimer’s puzzle

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One piece of the Alzheimer’s disease puzzle could turn out to be your liver. That's what a new study out of UC Irvine suggests.

Your liver does a lot of things to keep your body going. One of them is make a type of omega-3 fatty acid known as DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid.

Most of the DHA in your brain is made by your liver — not from dietary supplements or foods like fish and seaweed.

UC Irvine researchers found that in Alzheimer’s patients who died, a defect in their liver prevented it from making enough DHA.

The researchers say they’re surprised by the finding that suggests a defect in the liver could play a role in Alzheimer’s disease.

The scientists say their research suggests that the defect in the liver could make people more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s.

They say it means doctors might someday be able to use a lipid blood test to figure out who’s vulnerable to Alzheimer’s. Or they might be able to offer a chemically-enhanced DHA supplement that would make up for the deficiency in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

The study appears in the journal, PLoS ONE.