Friday, October 3, 2008

The effects of omega-3 fatty acids monotherapy in Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment:

In my last post, I suggested that despite the findings of one study, it was still a good idea to supplement omega-3 fatty acids in the diet. Here is one study supporting my argument.

Forty-six seniors with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease were given either a dose of omega-3's of 1.8 grams per day (roughly equivalent to what was provided in the previously mentioned study) or placebo. A 24-week, randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study was carried out to test the feasibility of using omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) monotherapy in people with cognitive impairment and to explore its effects on cognitive function and general clinical condition in these participants. Seventy-six participants completed the study. Those who received the omega-3's showed better improvement on a clinician-based assessment of symptoms. The change was more significant in those individuals with mild cognitive impairment than it was in those diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

The changes were more significant, also, in persons with higher concentrations of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in their red blood cells.

And, as I suggested, study design is an important determinant of outcome. In the words of the researchers, "Further studies should be considered with a larger-sample size, diet registration, higher dosages, comparisons between different combinations of PUFAs, and greater homogeneity of participants, especially those with mild Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment."

I am excited to see what studies like this teach us about minimizing the devastating effects of diseases of aging, such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease!

Chiu CC, Su KP, Cheng TC, Liu HC, Chang CJ, Dewey ME, Stewart R, Huang SY. The effects of omega-3 fatty acids monotherapy in Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment: a preliminary randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Aug 1;32(6):1538-44. Epub 2008 May 25.

1 comment:

healthy-oil-guy said...

There are addition studies on the the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oils and Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers at the Rush Institute of Healthy Aging conducted a study to see if consuming fish and different omega 3 fatty acids will protect against Alzheimers.

815 participants unaffected by Alzheimer's disease, and between the ages of 65 and 94, were monitored from 1993 to 2000. They were followed-up for a 4 year period to see if they developed Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers discovered patients who ate fish once or more per week had a 60% lower risk of Alzheimers. They also found an association between the total intake of omega 3 fatty acids and a reduced risk for developing Alzheimer's disease.

Research Reference:
Consumption of Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Risk of Incident Alzheimer Disease, Archives of Neurology 2003 Jul;60(7):940-6.