Effect of Long-Term Omega 3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Supplementation with or without Multidomain Lifestyle Intervention on Muscle Strength in Older Adults: Secondary Analysis of the Multidomain Alzheimer Preventive Trial (MAPT)

Nutrients. 2019 Aug 16;11(8):1931. doi: 10.3390/nu11081931.


Background: The benefits of long-term omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (ω3-PUFA) supplementation on muscle strength in older adults remains to be investigated.

Objectives: We assessed the effect of ω3-PUFA supplementation and a multidomain (physical activity, cognitive training, and nutritional advice), alone or in combination, compared with placebo, on muscle strength. We also hypothesized that ω3-PUFA supplementation resulted in additional benefit in participants with a low docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)/eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) erythrocyte level at baseline and high adherence to the multidomain intervention sessions.

Design: We performed secondary analyses of the Multidomain Alzheimer Preventive Trial (MAPT), a 3-year, multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled trial with four parallel groups. Participants were non-demented, aged 70 years or older. They were recruited in 13 memory clinics in France and Monaco between 30 May 2008 and 24 February 2011. Participants were randomly assigned to either ω3-PUFA alone (two capsules a day providing a total daily dose of 800 mg DHA and 225 mg EPA), ω3-PUFA plus the multidomain intervention (43 group sessions integrating advice for physical activity (PA), and nutrition, cognitive training, and three preventive consultations), the multidomain intervention plus placebo, or placebo alone. Our primary outcome was the change from baseline to 36 months of the muscle strength assessed with the repeated chair stand test and handgrip strength.

Results: A total of 1680 participants (75.34 years ± 4.42) were randomized. In the modified intention-to-treat population (n = 1679), no significant differences at 3-year follow-up were observed in the repeated chair stand test score between any of the three intervention groups and the placebo group. The between-group differences compared with placebo were -0.05388 (-0.6800 to 0.5723; Standard Error, SE = 0.3192; p = 0.8660) for the ω3-PUFA group, -0.3936 (-1.0217 to 0.2345; SE = 0.3180; p = 0.2192) for the multidomain intervention plus placebo group, and -0.6017 (-1.2255 to 0.02222; SE = 0.2092; p = 0.3202) for the combined intervention group. No significant effect was also found for the handgrip strength. Sensitivity analyses performed among participants with low (DHA+EPA) erythrocyte level at baseline (first quartile vs. others) or highly adherent participants (≥75% of the multidomain intervention sessions) revealed similar results.

Conclusion: Low dose ω3-PUFA supplementation, either alone or in combination with a multidomain lifestyle intervention comprising physical activity counselling, had no significant effects on muscle strength over 3 years in elderly people.

Keywords: muscle strength; physical performances; sarcopenia; ω3-PUFA.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / prevention & control*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Hand Strength / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3