It is generally accepted that omega-3-fatty acids (n3-FAs) are important for the development, physiology and (presumably) also the perfusion of the human brain. On the other hand, the available studies do not demonstrate that n3-FAs can protect against age-related loss of cognitive performance - even though this is supported by positive epidemiological correlations. It has not been shown that n3-FAs lead to improved cognitive performance or reduce the incidence of dementia. This may be due to the host of methodological problems, rather than any inherent lack of activity. Epidemiological studies on the correlation between n3-FA intake with food and the incidence of Alzheimer's disease do not provide any valid evidence. Supplementation does not influence the incidence of Alzheimer' s disease in healthy subjects and has no clinically relevant effects on patients with the disease. The same applies to Parkinson's disease. Depression is the only neuropsychiatric disease that can be demonstrably influenced by supplementation with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Future studies on the role of n3-FAs in age-related loss of cognitive performance should lay greater weight on the multifactorial pathogenesis of these conditions. They must employ realistic observation periods, and with pharmacologically based dose finding. In the near future, we can expect numerous studies on the role of n3-FAs in neuropsychiatric diseases, as indications such as depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning difficulties in children open new vistas in nutritional science and are potentially of considerable economic importance.
|Translated title of the contribution
|Omega-3 fatty acids and brain function
|Published - 10.2015
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)