Omega-3 fatty acids and risk of cognitive decline in the elderly: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Aging Clin Exp Res. 2016 Feb;28(1):165-6. doi: 10.1007/s40520-015-0381-9. Epub 2015 May 30.


Evidence has demonstrated that omega-3 fatty acids intake may be associated with age-related cognitive decline. However, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have drawn inconsistent conclusions. We performed a meta-analysis to assess the association between omega-3 fatty acids and risk of cognitive decline in the elderly. A strategic literature search of PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library (updated to December 2014) was performed. We retrieved six randomized controlled studies as eligible for our meta-analysis. Among these six studies, the duration time ranged from 3 to 40 months. The dose of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA + EPA) ranged from 400 to 1800 mg. The result of our meta-analysis expressed that omega-3 fatty acids statistically decrease the rate of cognitive decline in MMSE score (WMD = 0.15, [0.05, 0.25]; p = 0.003). In conclusion, our meta-analysis indicated that omega-3 fatty acids may help to prevent cognitive decline in the elderly.

Keywords: Cognitive decline; Meta-analysis; Omega-3 fatty acids; Randomized controlled trial.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cognition Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders* / metabolism
  • Cognition Disorders* / prevention & control
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3* / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3* / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3