Analysis of the Cochrane Review: Omega-3 Fatty Acids for the Treatment of Dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;4:CD009002.

David Cordeiro Sousa, Guilherme Ferreira Dos SANTOS, João Costa, António Vaz-Carneiro


Dietary supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids from fish and plant sources is commonly prescribed as a nonfarmacological alternative to improve brain functions and slow down the progression of dementia. This use is mostly based on findings of preclinical studies which established the role of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the development and integrity of the brain, as well as epidemiological research that found evidence of malnutrition in patients with dementia. This Cochrane systematic review included three randomized, placebo-controlled trials at low risk of bias, in which omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids were administered to people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease in the form of supplements. Of the main results of this systematic review we highlight the lack of convincing evidence for the efficacy of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids supplementation in the treatment of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as the low frequency of reported adverse events, with a comparable overall frequency between omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and the placebo groups. The effects on other populations with dementia remain unclear. This paper aims to summarize and discuss the main results and conclusions of this systematic review, as well as its implications for the daily clinical practice.


Omega-3 Fatty Acids; Dementia; Randomized Controlled Trials; Systematic Review

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