Dietary fatty acids and risk of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias: Observations from the Washington Heights-Hamilton Heights-Inwood Columbia Aging Project (WHICAP)

Alzheimers Dement. 2020 Dec;16(12):1638-1649. doi: 10.1002/alz.12154. Epub 2020 Jul 27.

Abstract

Introduction: High dietary intake of long chain, polyunsaturated fatty acids is associated with lower Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk.

Methods: Washington Heights-Hamilton Heights-Inwood Columbia Aging Project is a multiethnic, prospective observational study of aging and dementia among elderly (≥ 65 years). Dietary intake was measured using a food frequency questionnaire. Dietary short-, medium-, and long-chain fatty acid intakes were categorized by number of carbons and double bonds. Consensus AD diagnoses were made. Associations between AD risk and dietary fatty acid and cholesterol intakes were estimated using multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models.

Results: Of 2612 multiethnic women (67%) and men (baseline age 76.3 [6.4] years), 380 developed AD over an average 4.5 years follow-up. Lower risk of AD was associated with increasing intakes of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; hazard ratio [HR] = 0.73, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.57 to 0.95, P = 0.018) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; HR = 0.74, 95% CI: 0.57 to 0.95, P = 0.021), and longer AD-free survival (P < 0.05).

Discussion: Higher intake of DHA and EPA are protective for AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD); DHA; EPA; cholesterol; diet; fatty acids; omega-3; risk factor.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology
  • Alzheimer Disease / prevention & control*
  • Diet*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / administration & dosage
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Substances

  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid