DHA Omega-3 Supplementation Benefits Age-related Cognitive Decline

May 17, 2010


Beneficial Effects of Docosahexaenoic Acid on Cognition in Age-related Cognitive Decline
Yurko-Mauro , K. et al., Alzheimer’s and Dementia , 6: 1-9 , 2010
Clinical Research Department , Martek Biosciences Corp., Columbia, MD, USA


Since the potential benefits of DHA supplementation in age-related cognitive decline (ARCD) had not been fully examined, a randomized , double-blind, placebo-controlled , clinical trial was conducted at different clinical sites . A total of 485 subjects (aged 55 years or more , both genders) were enrolled who filled the criteria for exhibiting a decline in cognitive functioning which was considered within normal limits for the aging process given the person’s age. The subjects were randomly assigned to receive a placebo (control group) or supplementation with 900 mg DHA/day for 24 weeks. The primary outcome was a visuospatial learning and episodic memory test (the CANTAB Paired Associate Learning (PAL)). Blood plasma levels of DHA doubled in the DHA group and correlated significantly with improved PAL scores. The authors concluded that the DHA supplementation ‘improved learning and memory function in ARCD and is a beneficial supplement that supports cognitive health with aging.

Dr. Holub's Comments:

The present results are of potential health significance to the aging population since current average intakes of DHA omega-3 in North American adults is very close to only 80 mg/day whereas Japanese intakes amongst the elderly are closer to approaching the 900 mg/day as used in the present study than to only 80 mg/day. Increased consumption of fish/seafood , DHA-enriched food products, and supplements from fish oil or algae containing DHA are candidate sources for significantly increasing current DHA intakes in North America in this sector of the population.

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