Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Role of omega-3 in preventing cognitive decline in older people questioned

Date:
June 13, 2012
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
Older people who take omega-3 fish oil supplements are probably not reducing their chances of losing cognitive function, according to a new Cochrane systematic review. Based on the available data from studies lasting up to 3.5 years, the researchers concluded that the supplements offered no benefits for cognitive health over placebo capsules or margarines, but that longer term effects are worth investigating.

Older people who take omega-3 fish oil supplements are probably not reducing their chances of losing cognitive function, according to a new Cochrane systematic review. Based on the available data from studies lasting up to 3.5 years, the researchers concluded that the supplements offered no benefits for cognitive health over placebo capsules or margarines, but that longer term effects are worth investigating.

Omega-3 fatty acids are fats responsible for many important jobs in the body. We get these fats through our daily diets and the three major omega-3 fats are: alpha linolenic acid (ALA) from sources such as nuts and seeds and eicosapentoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from sources including oily fish such as salmon and mackerel. A number of studies have hinted that omega-3 fatty acids and DHA in particular may be involved in keeping nerve cells in the brain healthy into old age. However, there is limited evidence for the role of these fats in preventing cognitive decline and dementia.

The researchers, led by Emma Sydenham at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), London, UK, gathered together evidence from three high quality trials comparing the effects of omega-3 fatty acids taken in capsules or margarine spread to those of sunflower oil, olive oil or regular margarine. A total of 3,536 people over the age of 60 took part in the trials, which lasted between six and 40 months. None of the participants had any signs of poor cognitive health or dementia at the start of the trials.

The researchers found no benefit of taking the omega-3 capsules or spread over placebo capsules or spread. Participants given omega-3 did not score better in standard mental state examinations or in memory and verbal fluency tests than those given placebo.

"From these studies, there doesn't appear to be any benefit for cognitive health for older people of taking omega-3 supplements," said Alan Dangour, a nutritionist at LSHTM and co-author of the report. "However, these were relatively short-term studies, so we saw very little deterioration in cognitive function in either the intervention groups or the control groups. It may take much longer to see any effect of these supplements."

The researchers conclude that the longer term effects of omega-3 fatty acids on cognitive decline and dementia need to be explored in further studies, particularly in people with low intakes of omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. In the meantime, they stress other potential health benefits. "Fish is an important part of a healthy diet and we would still support the recommendation to eat two portions a week, including one portion of oily fish," said Dangour.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Emma Sydenham, Alan D Dangour, Wee-Shiong Lim. Omega 3 fatty acid for the prevention of cognitive decline and dementia. The Cochrane Library, June 13, 2012 DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005379.pub3

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Role of omega-3 in preventing cognitive decline in older people questioned." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120613091051.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2012, June 13). Role of omega-3 in preventing cognitive decline in older people questioned. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120613091051.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Role of omega-3 in preventing cognitive decline in older people questioned." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120613091051.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins