Omega 3 may not fight cognitive downturn

Omega-3 fatty acids may claim more than what it really does. A new study suggests that high levels of omega-3 are not any better in combating cognitive decline in older people, especially older women.


Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are types of fats commonly found in plant and marine life.Of particular interest to nutritionists and health care professionals are two types of omega-3 acids - DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) - due to their believed health benefits.


They entail acids that are thought to play an important role in reducing inflammation throughout the body.


And studies have shown numerous other health benefits, including the potential to prevent or delay cognitive decline. Researchers from the University of Iowa have suggested in their study, published in the journal Neurology, involved 2,157 women aged between 65 and 80, who were enrolled in the clinical trials of hormone therapy.

The research team took blood tests from all women before the beginning of the study, in order to measure the amount of omega-3 present in their blood.The women were required to complete thinking and memory skills tests annually over an average of 6 years.


The study revealed that there was no difference in results between women who had high levels of omega-3 in their blood at the time the first memory tests were completed and women who had low levels of omega-3 in their blood.


Additionally, the results showed that there was no difference in how fast thinking skills declined over time between women who had high or low levels of omega-3 in their blood.


More recently, researchers from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine suggested that omega3 assists in preventing alcohol related dementia.


Researchers however do not in any way suggest that people change their diet based on baseline research as the study may not be a definitive answer on the relationship between omega-3s and cognitive function. A health-related decision about diet should only come about after consulting one’s healthcare providers.


Randomized trials of omega-3 supplements will be done, which will provide more definitive information on the relationship between omega-3s and cognitive function in older adults. Additionally longitudinal studies that track people's dietary practices in middle age and later years may provide vital data on the effects of diet on long-term health outcomes.