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Nutrition, Vitamins & Supplements for Seniors

Cognitive Decline in Seniors Not Slowed by Omega-3 Fish Oil in Short Term

But researchers say longer term effects of omega-3 on cognitive decline and dementia need to be explored; urge seniors continue eating fish regularly

July 10, 2012 - 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 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.

 

Related Archive Stories

 
 

Seniors May Find Relief for Spine Damage with Omega-3, Curry Spice Diet

Diet minimized disease-related changes and repaired damage to the spinal cord of UCLA lab rats – preserved walking - June 26, 2012

Omega-3 Fatty Acid Fish Oil Lowers Inflammation in Overweight Older People

New study adds another check mark for fish oil as an effective defender against illness

June 20, 2012

Aging Brains May Stay Sharp, Avoid Shrinkage, Alzheimer's with Proper Diet

Good choices Bs, C, D, E & omega 3; also diets high in trans fats more likely to produce brain shrinkage, lower scores on thinking, memory

Jan. 4, 2012

Eating Baked, Broiled Fish Wards Off Cognitive Decline, Alzheimer’s Disease

Senior citizens  nearing danger zone of cognitive problems should eat fish weekly

Dec. 6, 2011


Links to more archived stories below news report

Read more on Nutrition, Vitamins & Supplements

 

Omega-3 fatty acids are fats responsible for many important jobs in the body. People get these fats through their 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. There is, however, limited evidence for the role of these fats in preventing cognitive decline and dementia, according to this study.

The researchers, led by Emma Sydenham at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), London, UK, gathered 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.


NOTE:

Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews of primary research in human health care and health policy, and are internationally recognised as the highest standard in evidence-based health care. They investigate the effects of interventions for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. They also assess the accuracy of a diagnostic test for a given condition in a specific patient group and setting. They are published online in The Cochrane Library.


Links to More Archived Stories on Omega-3, Fish Oil & Better Health

My Aching Knees Seemed to Be Cured by Omega-3, New Study Says It May Be True

UK researchers find omega-3 fatty acids slow down osteoarthritis, at least in guinea pigs; I think it worked for me!

By Tucker Sutherland, editor, SeniorJournal.com

Tucker Sutherland, editor, SeniorJournal.comOct. 17, 2011 – As an active – well very active – tennis player for many years, when I turned 70 I was worried my playing days might end due to my aching knees. I never took the court without wearing the latest in knee protection devices. Then, shortly after I increased my daily regimen of fish oil pills, the knee pain disappeared. I was convinced my joints were now better “oiled.” New research says there may be something to this. Read more...


Related Archive Stories

Photo: A woman having her eye examined.A number of studies have now linked Omega-3 with reducing the risk of AMD - major cause of blindness in senior citizens

Women Reduce Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration With Fish, Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Women who ate the most fish did the best at reducing the risk of this leading cause of blindness in senior citizens - March 15, 2011

Carotene that Makes Carrot Orange is in New Supplement that Slows Age-Related Macular Degeneration

New supplement introduced today appears so slow down AMD, the leading cause of blindness in elderly - June 19, 2009

Omega 3 from Fish, Nuts, Olive Oil Associated With Reduced Risk of Age-Related Blindness

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is the leading cause of severe vision loss among those older than 65 in the developed world. - May 11, 2009

Significant Vision Loss from Age-Related Macular Degeneration Reduced 41% by Vitamin B, Folic Acid

First means of reducing risk of AMD, leading cause of blindness in senior citizens, other than not smoking - Feb. 24, 2009

Eat Oily Fish at Least Once a Week to Protect Your Eyesight in Old Age

Consumption of oily fish at least once a week makes you 50% less likely to have wet AMD - Aug. 8, 2008

Age-Related Macular Degeneration Risk Lowered by Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Pigment found in spinach, egg yolk, corn protect the macula from blue light - Sept. 12, 2007

Omega-3 Protects Eyes from Retinopathy as in Major Causes of Blindness in Senior Citizens

Diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration may be helped - June 25, 2007

Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Fish, Vitamin D Fight Age-Related Macular Degeneration

No known way to prevent this major cause of blindness in senior citizens  - May 14, 2007

Pigments in Corn, Squash and other Vegetables Help Protect Against Age-Related Vision Loss

The carotenoids fight age-related macular degeneration (AMD) - August 14, 2006

Antioxidants and Zinc Reduce Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Says New Report

This 2001 study now confirmed by NIH panel

May 17, 2006

Antioxidants May Reduce Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Dec. 28, 2005

Review Supports Vitamin E Dosage for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Jan. 18, 2005

Fish Oil Supplements Appear to Help Older People Think Better, Save Brains

There was clear association between fish oil supplements and brain volume

Aug. 17, 2011


High Level of Omega-3 in Blood of Older Men Hikes Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Study leader says beneficial effects of eating fish to prevent heart disease still outweigh any harm related to prostate cancer risk - April 25, 2011


Women Reduce Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration With Fish, Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Women who ate the most fish did the best at reducing the risk of this leading cause of blindness in senior citizens

March 15, 2011


Omega-3 Fish Oil Does Not Slow Cognitive or Functional Decline in Alzheimer's Disease

New study indicates DHA supplement not useful for those with mild to moderate AD - watch JAMA video - Nov. 3, 2010


Claims Appear Fishy that Fish Oil Supplements Improve Cognitive Ability of Senior Citizens

Largest study ever of older people and fish oil finds no improvement in brain power after two years - April 21, 2010


Rigid Mediterranean-Type Diet, More Physical Activity Reduces Risk of Alzheimer's

Second JAMA study says high adherence to the diet by senior citizens leads to slower decline in some cognitive function, but not decreased risk for dementia

Aug. 11, 2009


Omega 3 from Fish, Nuts, Olive Oil Associated With Reduced Risk of Age-Related Blindness

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is the leading cause of severe vision loss among those older than 65 in the developed world. - May 11, 2009


Study of Older Men Challenges Heart Association Recommendation of Eating Fish Twice Weekly

Study finds eating fatty fish once a week reduces heart failure risk, eating more does not. Omega-3 fatty acid benefits confirmed, too – if taken in the right amounts

 - April 22, 2009


Senior Citizens Have Less Dementia if They Eat Omega-3 Rich Fish, Finds 7-Nation Study

Results inconclusive on impact of dementia risk from eating meat - July 17, 2009


Omega-3 Kills Cancer Cells, Enhances Chemotherapy Drug As It Limits Harmful Side Effects

Success with lab rats leads researchers to call for wider use of omega-3 in the fight against cancer-April 2, 2009


Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Advice on Use Presented by Mayo Clinic

Thousands of studies have documented the cardiovascular benefits

March 10, 2008


How Fish Oil Helps You Avoid Brain Damaging Alzheimer’s Plaque

UCLA study finds anti-Alzheimer's mechanism in omega-3 fatty acids

Dec. 26, 2007


Senior Citizens Significantly Lower Dementia Risk Eating Fish, Omega-3 Oils, Fruits, Veggies

Watch for omega-6 oils – they can increase your chances of memory problems finds study of older people

Nov. 13, 2007


Reports of Lower Alzheimer's Risk from Omega-3 Fish Oil Spurs Clinical Trial

National Institute of Aging funds clinical trial that needs volunteers

May 10, 2007


Senior Citizens Significantly Lower Dementia Risk Eating Fish, Omega-3 Oils, Fruits, Veggies

Watch for omega-6 oils – they can increase your chances of memory problems finds study of older people - Nov. 13, 2007


Alzheimer's 'Cocktail' Hailed as New Hope for Patients

Omega-3 fish oil a key ingredient among dietary supplements in drink to improve memory

April 28, 2006


Something Fishy About Alzheimer’s Prevention

New study supports earlier finding that eating fish helps prevent Alzheimer’s

July 22, 2003

 

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