Challenger Highlights for Academic Programs No. 6: Omega 3 Fatty Acid
On June 13, 2012, The Cochrane Library published a summary article on the results of several trials of Omega-3 fatty acid supplements for to deter cognitive decline or dementia in otherwise healthy adults. The three authors of this review are members of the Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group. Their summary can be accessed at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/
The Cochrane report examined the results from three randomized trials involving over 4000 subjects. The original trials were conducted over 6, 24 and 40 months respectively.
Salient aspects of the Cochrane report are as follows:
- Adherence to the supplement schedule protocol was high in all trials with on average over 90% of supplements being apparently consumed by trial participants.
- All three studies included in this review were of high methodological quality, so the findings were unlikely to be due to chance or bias.
- The results show no benefit for cognitive function from omega-3 supplements among cognitively healthy older people. Omega-3 supplements are often recommended for other benefits and consumption of fish is recommended as part of a healthy diet, so the reviewers are not suggesting that the public stop consuming sources of omega-3.
- No conclusions are established in this review for applications of this supplement for adults already diagnosed with cognitive deficiencies.
- Longer studies, during which greater changes in cognitive function may occur, might reveal a significant gain from omega-3 supplements.
Challenger supports evidence based medicine. This article is part of a series of brief synopses of information across our served specialties.