New Orleans, LA—Time is precious for getting a stroke victim the immediate care they need. Now, an important study funded by the National Institute of Health has found that DHA may be an important part of ischemic stroke treatment and recovery—if it’s taken within five hours of stroke.

Blood flow to the brain is stopped or extremely limited in those undergoing a stroke, which can cause irreversibly damage to the brain tissue and lead to problems with speech, movement, memory and cognition. Strokes can even lead to death.

In the present study, brain-supporting nutrient DHA (or a placebo) was given intravenously at three, four, five or six hours after a stroke began. MRI scans showed that DHA “reduced swelling and facilitated neurobehavioral recovery.” On average, the DHA group had 40% less damaged brain tissue than the other group. Researchers speculate this protection was caused by the DHA triggering neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1) production.

According to a press statement, “Not only did DHA treatment salvage brain tissue that would have died, its repair mechanisms rendered some areas indistinguishable from normal tissue by seven days.”

This research was authored by a team from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Health Sciences Center New Orleans and Loma Linda University in California. The data are published in Translation Stroke Research.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, January 2011 (online 11/24/10)