Omega-3 fatty acids: Potential role in the management of early Alzheimer's disease

Gregory A. Jicha, William R. Markesbery

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations

Abstract

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain growth and development. They play an important role throughout life, as critical modulators of neuronal function and regulation of oxidative stress mechanisms, in brain health and disease. Docosahexanoic acid (DHA), the major omega-3 fatty acid found in neurons, has taken on a central role as a target for therapeutic intervention in Alzheimer's disease (AD). A plethora of in vitro, animal model, and human data, gathered over the past decade, highlight the important role DHA may play in the development of a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders, including AD. Cross sectional and prospective cohort data have demonstrated that reduced dietary intake or low brain levels of DHA are associated with accelerated cognitive decline or the development of incipient dementia, including AD. Several clinical trials investigating the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in AD have been completed and all failed to demonstrate its efficacy in the treatment of AD. However, these trials produced intriguing data suggesting that the beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may depend on the stage of disease, other dietary mediators, and apolipoprotein E status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-61
Number of pages17
JournalClinical Interventions in Aging
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Clinical studies
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Oxidative stress
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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