Those Omega3 Supplements May Not Help Your Brain After All
Roughly 10 percent of Americans take fish oil supplements in the hopes of preventing heart disease, Alzheimer’s, vision loss and other symptoms that plague older adults. The supplement industry has made at least $1.2 billion on the promise that omega3, the key ingredient in fish oil pills, can work miracles.
But a new study conducted by the NIH provides the strongest evidence yet that omega-3 supplements have no effect on Alzheimer’s and other forms of cognitive decline. Scientists examined 4,000 older adults over a five-year period, while some participants received omega-3 supplements and others took a daily placebo pill. By the end of the study, both groups of participants showed about the same level of cognitive decline. It was one of the first long-term prospective studies of omega-3 supplements, and the pill flopped.
“Contrary to popular belief, we didn’t see any benefit of omega-3 supplements for stopping cognitive decline,” said Emily Chew, researcher at the NIH and lead author of the study, in a prepared statement. This study is one in a long line that has shown fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids in supplement form do not have any long-term health benefits.