Sat, Apr 25, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Researchers extract brain nutrient from squid skins: report

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

A local research team has successfully extracted a brain-boosting nutrient from squid skin, a fisheries official said on Thursday.

Researchers at the Council of Agriculture’s Fisheries Research Institute have extracted PL-DHA (phospholipid docosahexaenoic acid) — a substance that can improve memory and enhance learning ability — from the skin of squid, the official said.

The official said PL-DHA was better than TG-DHA — another form of docosahexaenoic acid that is commonly found in deep-sea fish oil — in inhibiting degradation of the intellect because it can cross the blood brain barrier and be absorbed directly into the brain.

The researchers have also discovered that the PL-DHA extract is effective in reviving neural cells and enhancing the content of three oxidation-resistant enzymes — GSH, CAT and SOD — as well as moderating free radical-induced oxidative damage to neural cells, thus slowing down the accumulation of plaque and tangles in brain cells.DEMENTIA

Quoting medical reports, the official said Alzheimer’s and other forms of senile dementia were associated with the accumulation of plaque and tangles in the brain.

The official said at present more than 24 million people around the world suffered from senile dementia, with the rate of new cases growing by 4.6 million every year.

“This means that one person in the world falls victim to Alzheimer’s every six minutes,” the official said.

Taiwan boasts abundant squid catches, with annual output between 150,000 tonnes and 200,000 tonnes, the official said, adding that by-products from squid processing accounted for 35 percent of the total catch, with squid skins making up about 15 percent of by-products.

UNPALATABLE

As squid skins are tough and unpalatable, they are usually processed into powder that is used as an additive in animal and livestock feed.

Following the discovery of PL-DHA in squid skins, the official said the Fisheries Research Institute would step up the development of squid skin-based health products.

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