Volume 14, Number 3-4, Mai-Août 2007
|Page(s)||177 - 181|
|Section||PUFAs and aging disorders|
|Published online||15 May 2007|
Linking low docosahexaenoic acid intake to Alzheimer’s disease: caution recommended
Research Center on Aging, Health and Social Sciences Center, University Institute of Geriatrics of Sherbrooke, Université de Sherbrooke, 1036 Belvédère St. South, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada J1H 4C4
Prospective cohort studies and animal models support the concept that low docosahexaenoic acid intake is implicated in the etiology or progression of Alzheimer’s disease. However, other studies crucial to this relationship are less encouraging. To date, the few trials using docosahexaenoic acid to treat declining cognition in the elderly have either been very small or, in the largest trial, the beneficial effect was mild and limited to a sub-group of patients. The supplements used in each of these clinical trials contained at least one polyunsaturated fatty acid other than docosahexaenoic acid, so the active ingredient remains unclear. One widely cited study reported markedly lower brain docosahexaenoic acid in Alzheimer’s disease but at least five other much less commonly cited reports have not corroborated this effect. There are numerous inconsistencies or confounders in the data and several challenges to overcome before definitively attributing a specific role to docosahexaenoic acid in the protection of c ognitive function in the elderly.
Key words: docosahexaenoic acid / Alzheimer’s disease / omega 3 fatty acids / brain / eicosapentaenoic acid / arachidonic acid
© John Libbey Eurotext 2007
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