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J Nutr Health Aging. 2017;21(9):988-993. doi: 10.1007/s12603-017-0957-5.

Cognitive Changes with Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Non-Demented Older Adults with Low Omega-3 Index.

Author information

Claudie Hooper, Gérontopôle, Department of Geriatrics, CHU Toulouse, Purpan University Hospital, Toulouse, France:, Tel : +33 (5) 61 77 64 25, Fax : +33 (5) 61 77 64 75.



To investigate the changes in specific domains of cognitive function in older adults reporting subjective memory complaints with a low omega-3 index receiving omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 PUFA) supplementation or placebo.


This is a secondary exploratory analysis of the Multidomain Alzheimer Preventive Trial (MAPT) using subjects randomized to the n-3 PUFA supplementation or placebo group.


French community dwellers aged 70 or over reporting subjective memory complaints, but free from clinical dementia.


A subgroup of MAPT subjects in the lowest quartile of omega-3 index distribution with baseline values ≤ 4.83 % (n = 183).


The n-3 PUFA supplementation group consumed a daily dose of DHA (800 mg) and EPA (a maximum amount of 225 mg) for 3 years. The placebo group received identical capsules comprising liquid paraffin oil.


Linear mixed-model repeated-measures analyses were used including baseline, 6, 12, 24 and 36-month follow-up data to assess between-group differences in the change in eight cognitive tests over 36 months.


There was less decline on the Controlled Oral Word Association Test (COWAT) in the n-3 PUFA supplementation group compared to placebo (p = 0.009; between group mean difference over 36 months, 2.3; 95% CI, 0.6,4.0). No significant differences for any of the other cognitive tests were found, including other tests of executive functioning, although, numerically all results were in favour of the n-3 PUFA supplementation.


We found some evidence that n-3 PUFAs might be beneficial for the maintenance of executive functioning in older adults at risk of dementia with low omega-3 index, but this exploratory finding requires further confirmation. A larger specifically designed randomised controlled trial could be merited.


Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; cognition; executive functioning

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Conflict of interest statement

Dr Claudie Hooper: Reports no conflicts of interest; Dr Philipe De Souto Barreto: Reports no conflicts of interest; Dr Nicola Coley: Reports no conflicts of interest; Ms Christelle Cantet: Reports no conflicts of interest; Prof Matteo Cesari: Reports no conflicts of interest; Prof Sandrine Andrieu: SA has received grants from Europe, Ipsen, and France Alzheimer, served as a consultant for Ipsen, Pierre Fabre, Lilly, Nestlé, Sanofi, and Servier, and received non-financial support from Biogen, Nutrition Santé, Pfizer, and Icon, and other support from the AMPA Association; Prof Bruno Vellas: BV reports grants from Pierre Fabre, Avid, Exonhit, AbbVie, Lilly, Lundbeck, MSD, Otsuka, Regenron, Sanofi, Roche, AstraZeneca, LPG Systems, Nestlé, and Alzheon, and personal fees from Lilly, Lundbeck, MSD, Otsuka, Roche, Sanofi, Biogen, Nestlé, Transition Therapeutics, and Takeda.

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