Omega-3 Supplements Fail to Slow Cognitive Decline

A reader asked me to comment on the study, Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Lutein/Zeaxanthin, or Other Nutrient Supplementation on Cognitive Function (1). It is a recent study that got some attention for showing that omega-3 supplements failed to prevent cognitive decline in older people.

I contacted the authors to get the blood levels of EPA and DHA at baseline to compare them to typical levels in non-supplementing vegans. Unfortunately, they didn’t measure them in a way that allowed for me to compare to studies on vegans. If they had been similar to typical levels in vegans we would have some evidence that the lower levels in vegans are not a problem, but since I couldn’t tell, I don’t consider it to provide any evidence that vegans cannot benefit from omega-3 supplements.

The good news is that this report could help reduce the use of fish oil supplements by non-vegetarians.

For more on this issue, see Omega-3 Fatty Acid Recommendations for Vegetarians.

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References

1. Chew EY, Clemons TE, Agrón E, Launer LJ, Grodstein F, Bernstein PS; Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) Research Group. Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Lutein/Zeaxanthin, or Other Nutrient Supplementation on Cognitive Function: The AREDS2 Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2015 Aug 25;314(8):791-801. | link

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