Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, are essential for a healthy diet and play a vital role in heart and brain health. Despite evidence linking omega-3 consumption to lower risk of cognitive decline, clinical trial results are inconsistent. The authors reviewed 78 clinical trials that examined the impact of omega-3 supplements on cognitive function. About 44% of these trials showed improved cognitive outcomes with omega-3 use compared to a placebo.
These trials covered a diverse group of people, varying in age and health status, and used different doses of omega-3. They also employed various cognitive tests for evaluation. The trials were grouped into categories based on participants’ cognitive status: middle-aged adults without cognitive impairment, older adults without impairment, adults with memory complaints, those with mild cognitive impairments (MCI), and people with diagnosed dementia or cognitive issues. Notably, trials with MCI patients showed about 67% positive cognitive outcomes with omega-3 supplementation. This review underscores the need for better-designed trials to understand omega-3’s impact on cognition and to provide clearer guidance for clinicians regarding nutritional interventions for cognitive health.
Andriambelo, B., Stiffel, M., Roke, K., & Plourde, M. (2023). New perspectives on randomized controlled trials with omega-3 fatty acid supplements and cognition: A scoping review. Ageing Research Reviews, 74, 101835.