This is the protocol for a Cochrane systematic review which is in progress. The main objective of this research is to evaluate the effect of omega 3 fatty acids supplementation on cognitive functions in patients with dementia or mild cognitive impairment. Secondary objectives of this review are to assess the effect of omega 3 fatty acids on global disease severity, neuropsychiatric symptoms, quality of life and ability to perform activities involved in daily living. This review also aims to assess issues regarding the safety and acceptability of omega 3 fatty acids supplementation in patients with dementia and mild cognitive impairment.
This review takes a broad approach to the scope of omega 3 fatty acids. Dietary interventions (foods containing omega 3 fatty acids) or supplements are included in this category. Omega 3 fatty acids include ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and/or DPA (docosapentaenoic acid), fish oils (which contain EPA, DPA and DHA), flaxseed oil (which contains ALA) and other dietary sources rich in omega 3 fatty acids (such as blackcurrant oil, canola, mustard, walnut, wheat germ oil, all of which contain ALA).
Note: A recent definitive study showed that while there is some evidence from previous research that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish and supplements might prevent Alzheimer’s Disease, once the disease has set-in fish oils will not slow cognitive decline.
Dionisi, F. Calder, PC. (2011). Omega 3 fatty acids for the treatment of dementia and cognitive impairment (Protocol). London: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, February 16th 2011, Issue 2, No. CD009002.