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Fish-oil supplements incapable of averting dementia

Taking fish-oil supplements do not prevent mental decline, researchers find.

By PressTV | 13 Jun 2012

Researchers say they have ascertained compelling evidence that fish-oil supplements do not offer protection against dementia.

Previous studies said that omega-3 fatty acids, particularly those in fish oil, could provide protection for brain cells.

However, a team of experts conducting the Cochrane Review now said there was no evidence showing that taking Omega-3 supplements could prevent mental decline in aging individuals, at least over a period of three and a half years.

The research team studied the results of three trials observing the impacts of omega-3 taken in the form of capsules or added to margarine spread. In each study, their effects were compared with those of sunflower oil, olive oil or regular margarine.

Some 3,536 people over the age of 60 were involved in the studies, with none of the participants having any initial signs of dementia. The studies took between six and 40 months.

Eventually, the participants who took omega-3 supplements scored no better in standard tests of memory and mental performance than those not taken the supplements.

Co-author Dr Alan Dangour, a nutritionist from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, stressed that according to the studies, there was not any benefit for cognitive health for ageing people of taking omega-3 supplements.

"However, these were relatively short-term studies, so 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.

Dr Marie Janson of the UK’s leading dementia research, Alzheimer's Research UK, also said that while taking omega-3 supplements cannot prevent mental decline, having a healthy diet that includes fish and natural sources of omega-3, is important for maintaining good health.



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