Preventing Alzheimer’s disease through supplementation with natural omega-3 fatty acids.
Changes in cognitive function and memory decline form a normal part of aging. However, in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment (the pre-dementia phase of Alzheimer’s disease), these changes occur more quickly. There are currently no effective treatments for these diseases. Physicians and researchers are constantly looking for new treatment methods that will maintain their patients’ cognitive performance and independence for as long as possible. Targeted prevention is another essential component when trying to preserve cognitive function for as long as possible.
“Ideally, any measures used should be aimed at long-term prevention. This means that measures must be suitable for use in healthy older adults, and should be easy to integrate into day-to-day life,” says Dr. Nadine Külzow, a researcher at Charité’s Department of Neurology. Nutritional supplements represent one such option. “A number of different dietary components, including omega-3 fatty acids, are currently thought to have a direct effect on nerve cell function. This is why we decided to study the effects on memory function of a daily dose of 2,200 milligrams taken for a duration of six months,” says Dr. Külzow.
Study participants who received omega-3 fatty acids showed greater improvements on an object location memory task than participants who received a placebo containing sunflower oil. However, there was no evidence of improved performance on a verbal learning test. “Results from this study suggest that a long-term approach to prevention is particularly effective in preserving cognitive function in older individuals. A targeted approach involving dietary supplements can play a central role in this regard,” concluded the researchers. Whether or not the improvements recorded can make a noticeable difference in day-to-day life will need to be investigated as part of a larger clinical study. As a next step, however, the researchers are planning to test the effect of supplementation with a combination of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B. According to research conducted at Oxford, this combination may be associated with synergistic effects.
Study participants wanted
We are currently recruiting for additional studies aimed at testing the effects of regular dietary supplementation on cognitive abilities such as memory and learning. Participants must be aged between 60 and 80 years, and suffer from impaired memory. For further details, please refer to the following page: http://www.neurocure.de/en/clinical-center/about-us.html
Source: Dr. Nadine Külzow – Charité: Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Image Source: The image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Abstract for “Impact of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation on Memory Functions in Healthy Older Adults” to Nadine Külzow, Veronica Witte, Lucia Kerti, Ulrike Grittner, Jan Philipp Schuchardt, Andreas Hahn and Agnes Flöel in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Published online February 10 2016 doi:10.3233/JAD-150886
Impact of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation on Memory Functions in Healthy Older Adults
As the process of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) begins years before disease onset, searching for prevention strategies is of major medical and economic importance. Nutritional supplementation with long-chain polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids (LC-n3-FA) may exert beneficial effects on brain structure and function. However, experimental evidence in older adults without clinical dementia is inconsistent, possibly due to low sensitivity of previously employed test batteries for detecting subtle improvements in cognition in healthy individuals. Here we used LOCATO, recently described as a robust and sensitive tool for assessing object-location memory (OLM) in older adults, to evaluate the impact of LC-n3-FA supplementation on learning and memory formation. In a double-blind placebo-controlled proof-of-concept study, 44 (20 female) cognitively healthy individuals aged 50–75 years received either LC-n3-FA (2,200 mg/day, n = 22) or placebo (n = 22) for 26 weeks. Before and after intervention, memory performance in the OLM-task (primary) was tested. As secondary outcome parameters, performance in Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (AVLT), dietary habits, omega-3-index, and other blood-derived parameters were assessed. Omega-3 index increased significantly in the LC-n3-FA group compared with the placebo group. Moreover, recall of object locations was significantly better after LC-n3-FA supplementation compared with placebo. Performance in the AVLT was not significantly affected by LC-n3-FA. This double-blind placebo-controlled proof-of-concept study provides further experimental evidence that LC-n3-FA exert positive effects on memory functions in healthy older adults. Our findings suggest novel strategies to maintain cognitive functions into old age.
“Impact of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation on Memory Functions in Healthy Older Adults” to Nadine Külzow, Veronica Witte, Lucia Kerti, Ulrike Grittner, Jan Philipp Schuchardt, Andreas Hahn and Agnes Flöel in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Published online February 10 2016 doi:10.3233/JAD-150886