Omega-3 & Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, currently affects over 13 million people worldwide. According to a new clinical trial published in the International Jounral of Geriatric Psychiatry, suppplementing the diet with omega-3 fatty acids may help slow down the depression and agitation symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

This new study, led by Yvonne Freund-Levi from Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet, divided the participants to receive omega-3 supplements (docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) 1.7 g and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) 0.6 g) or placebo for six months. After this initial six month period, all participants received the omega-3 supplements for another six months.

While no observable difference where noticed between the patients receiving the omega-3 and the placebo group, after the researchers took into account the Alzheimer’s genotype, a noticable difference appeared. Carriers of the gene (APOE4) who had received omega-3 supplements responded positively to the omega-3 in regards to agitation symptoms, while non-bearers of the gene showed an improvement in depressive symptoms.

More research will be done in the near future regarding omega-3 and Alzheimer’s patients.

Yvonne Freund-Levi, Hans Basun, Tommy Cederholm, Gerd Faxen-Irving, Anita Garlind, Mikaela Grut, Inger Vedin, Jan Palmblad, Lars-Olof Wahlund, Maria Eriksdotter-Jonhagen. “Omega-3 supplementation in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease: effects on neuropsychiatric symptoms”. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. Published online 21 June 2007, doi 10.1002/gps.1857.

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