[This abstract first appeared in: Dementia: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWHT) Volume 1 Issue 5 December 2010].
A $10m US government-funded research programme investigating omega-3 looked at men and women aged around 76 with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s Disease. Just over 400 subjects were randomised into two groups to receive capsules containing either docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or a placebo for 18 months. The two groups later showed no difference in cognitive decline as measured by CTs of brain volume.
Researchers found that DHA offered no benefits for slowing Alzheimer’s symptoms. The docosahexaenoic acid pills offered no benefits among a smaller group of subjects with milder symptoms either. There is no evidence for recommending DHA supplementation for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
While there is some evidence from previous research that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, mostly found in oily fish and supplements, might prevent Alzheimer’s Disease this trial shows that once you have it, fish oils will not slow cognitive decline.
Quinn, JF. Raman, R. [and] Thomas, RG. [et al] (2010). Docosahexaenoic acid supplementation and cognitive decline in alzheimer disease: a randomized trial. JAMA, 2010, Vol.304(17), pp.1903-1911.