Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Early Prevention of Inflammatory Neurodegenerative Disease: A Focus on Alzheimer's Disease

Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:172801. doi: 10.1155/2015/172801. Epub 2015 Aug 2.

Abstract

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the leading cause of dementia and the most common neurodegenerative disease in the elderly. Furthermore, AD has provided the most positive indication to support the fact that inflammation contributes to neurodegenerative disease. The exact etiology of AD is unknown, but environmental and genetic factors are thought to contribute, such as advancing age, family history, presence of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes, and poor diet and lifestyle. It is hypothesised that early prevention or management of inflammation could delay the onset or reduce the symptoms of AD. Normal physiological changes to the brain with ageing include depletion of long chain omega-3 fatty acids and brains of AD patients have lower docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) levels. DHA supplementation can reduce markers of inflammation. This review specifically focusses on the evidence in humans from epidemiological, dietary intervention, and supplementation studies, which supports the role of long chain omega-3 fatty acids in the prevention or delay of cognitive decline in AD in its early stages. Longer term trials with long chain omega-3 supplementation in early stage AD are warranted. We also highlight the importance of overall quality and composition of the diet to protect against AD and dementia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism
  • Aging / pathology
  • Alzheimer Disease / diet therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / diet therapy*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / pathology

Substances

  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3