Association of fish oil supplement use with preservation of brain volume and cognitive function

Alzheimers Dement. 2015 Feb;11(2):226-35. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2014.02.005. Epub 2014 Jun 18.


Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate whether the use of fish oil supplements (FOSs) is associated with concomitant reduction in cognitive decline and brain atrophy in older adults.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study to examine the relationship between FOS use during the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative and indicators of cognitive decline. Older adults (229 cognitively normal individuals, 397 patients with mild cognitive impairment, and 193 patients with Alzheimer's disease) were assessed with neuropsychological tests and brain magnetic resonance imaging every 6 months. Primary outcomes included (1) global cognitive status and (2) cerebral cortex gray matter and hippocampus and ventricular volumes.

Results: FOS use during follow-up was associated with significantly lower mean cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale and higher Mini-Mental State Examination scores among those with normal cognition. Associations between FOS use and the outcomes were observed only in APOE ε4-negative participants. FOS use during the study was also associated with less atrophy in one or more brain regions of interest.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Brain atrophy; Cognition; Docosahexaenoic acid; Omega-3.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Apolipoprotein E4 / genetics
  • Atrophy / drug therapy
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / drug therapy*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / genetics
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / pathology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / psychology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Fish Oils / therapeutic use*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gray Matter / drug effects
  • Gray Matter / pathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Mental Status Schedule
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Organ Size
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Apolipoprotein E4
  • Fish Oils
  • Neuroprotective Agents

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