Omega -3 Fatty Acids’ effect on brain health in people 60 or older may be more myth than medical fact.
Researchers with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine issued a report Wednesday that found direct evidence on the effect of omega-3 on incident dementia is lacking.
Dr. Alan Dangour, author of the new study, admits he was disappointed in the results which reviewed 3,536 patients taking placebos versus fish oil for six months to more than three years.
"This is a great shame, Dangour said. "It would be lovely to find a solution for cognitive decline and dementia, and unfortunately, the evidence as it stands says it does not benefit cognitive function in older people."
Dr. Deborah Harding, CEO of The Harding Anti-Aging Center in Orlando, says the window of time for the studies is too short to make any real conclusions.
"This study, in my opinion, doesn’t tell us anything," she said. "Number one, it’s too short, number two they are not measuring the Omega fish oil levels in the participants’ blood."
Harding’s patients are given levels of Omega-3 based on their individual blood results.
That was never done in any of the clinical studies reviewed in the London report.
Dementia is a progressive illness which mainly affects older people. The changes are subtle at first, then over time, the decline in memory and verbal fluency is stunted.
According to the study, "previous research from observational studies has suggested that increased consumption of fish oils rich in omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 PUFA) may reduce the chance of developing dementia, while other studies show no effect."
Dr. Dangour, a nutritionist and co-author of the study concedes time may play a key in the impact of fish oil on the brain’s health.
"We saw very little deterioration in cognitive function in either the intervention groups or the control groups. It may take much longer to see any effect of these supplements," Dangour said.
Most doctors agree fish oil is good for the heart and no side effects have been found to date.
For more information about the Harding Anti-Aging Center’s omega 3 testing go to hardingantiaging.com