Omega-3 Supplements: The Fish (Oil) That Got Away?

By ROBERTA CANNON, OneCape Health News
HYANNIS – Millions of Americans follow a daily ritual of lining up nutritional supplements to add to their morning dietary intake. These pills, which come in various shapes and sizes, are said to promote everything from balanced health, increased energy, weight loss, bone growth, heart health and muscle tone.
One of the most popular supplements is over-the-counter Omega-3, also known as fish oil, which is purported to support brain health.
But a recent study shows that Omega- 3 supplements do not slow or stop the progress of cognitive decline in older adults.
The five-year study, led by Emily Chew, MD, at the National Institute of Health and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, examined the effects of nutritional supplements for slowing macular degeneration, a cause of blindness in older adults.
The average age of the 4,000 participants was 72, and 58 percent were female. They took cognitive function tests at the beginning of the study, then at two and four years later. They were tested for immediate and delayed recall, attention and memory, as well as processing speed.
The study investigated a combination of nutritional supplements for slowing macular degeneration. They were divided into four groups. One group took a placebo, the second took Omega-3 supplements and the third took a combination of Lutein and zeaxanthin (found in green leafy vegetables). The fourth group took a combination of all three supplements.
The results showed that no combination of nutritional supplements made a difference in cognitive decline over time………
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