High-Dose Omega-3 May Lower Alzheimer’s Disease Risk

A study conducted by Dr. Yassine, from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles has revealed that an Omega-3 supplementation in the pre-dementia stage of Alzheimer’s disease may slow early memory decline in APOE4 carriers.

APOE is the principal cholesterol carrier in the brain.[1] This protein is involved in Alzheimer’s disease and cardiovascular disease. [2]

DHA is critical to the formation of neuronal synapses and membrane fluidity. A DHA supplementation in APOE4 carriers can result in beneficial outcomes if the timing of the intervention precedes the onset of dementia.

Individuals with a single ε4 allele are three to four times more likely to develop AD as those without an ε4 allele, and people with two ε4 alleles have a 12-fold higher risk of developing AD, the researchers pointed out.

During the clinical trials, APOE4 carriers were classified into three stages based on disease severity.

Stage 1: In the earliest pre-dementia phase of the disease, participants would have evidence of brain imaging changes in areas vulnerable to AD. However, no cognitive changes, or only subtle ones, would be detectable.

Stage 2: It is for patients in an early prodromal stage of disease that long-term high dose DHA supplementation could slow cognitive decline, the researchers stated. Patients in this group would have evidence of memory and/or executive decline but no significant impairment in activities of daily living.

Stage 3: This stage represent clinical AD with impairments in multiple cognitive domains. DHA supplementation would probably not be beneficial in this group.

The study was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the Alzheimer’s Association, the National Institute on Aging, the LK Whittier Foundation, and Huntington Medical Research Institute.

Click here to read the article published by MedPage Today.

[1] Puglielli L, Tanzi RE, Kovacs DM (April 2003). “Alzheimer’s disease: the cholesterol connection”. Nature Neuroscience. 6 (4): 345–51. doi:1038/nn0403-345PMID 12658281.

[2] Ian P. Stolerman (2010). Encyclopedia of psychopharmacology (Online-Ausg. ed.). Berlin: Springer. ISBN 9783540686989.