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J Nutr. 2009 Dec;139(12):2329-36. doi: 10.3945/jn.109.113647. Epub 2009 Oct 14.

Intakes of (n-3) fatty acids and fatty fish are not associated with cognitive performance and 6-year cognitive change in men participating in the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study.

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Wageningen University, Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen, The Netherlands.


High intake of fish and (n-3) PUFA may protect against age-related cognitive decline. However, results are inconsistent and limited data exist regarding changes in multiple cognitive functions over a longer period of time. In this study, we assessed the association between fatty fish intake as well as (n-3) PUFA intake with cognitive performance and cognitive change over 6 y in 1025 elderly men. Participants were from the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study. Cognitive function was assessed with a battery of cognitive tests focusing on factors representing memory/language, speed, and visuospatial/attention. Dietary intakes were assessed with a validated FFQ. We used general linear models to assess cross-sectional associations and mixed models to assess the associations over time. Models were adjusted for age, education, BMI, smoking, diabetes, and intake of alcohol, saturated fat, vitamin C, and vitamin E. The mean age of participating men was 68 y at baseline. Median fish consumption ranged from 0.2 to 4.2 servings/wk across quartiles. Cross-sectional analyses showed no association between fatty fish or (n-3) PUFA intake and cognitive performance. Longitudinal analyses, over 6 y of follow-up, also did not show any significant associations between fatty fish or (n-3) PUFA intake and cognitive change. In this population of elderly men, intake of neither fatty fish nor (n-3) PUFA was associated with cognitive performance.

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