No benefits of omega-3 fatty acid on cognitive function in older people

Clinical question: 
How effective is omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) supplementation for the prevention of dementia and cognitive decline in cognitively healthy older people?
Bottom line: 
There was no benefit to cognitive function (measured by minimental state examination, word learning, digit span and fluency) from omega-3 PUFA supplementation taken for 6 to 40 months in cognitively healthy people over 60 years old. Supplementation was generally well tolerated. The most commonly reported side effects were mild gastrointestinal problems. All 3 studies were of high quality.
Caveat: 
None of the studies examined the effect of omega-3 PUFA on incident dementia. Longer-term studies may identify changes in cognitive function. Omega-3 PUFA supplements may have other health benefits.
Context: 
Evidence from observational studies has suggested that diets high in omega-3 PUFA may protect people from cognitive decline and dementia. Oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines, are a rich source of omega-3 PUFAs, which are essential for brain development.
Review CD#: 
CD005379
PEARLS No: 
367
Date: 
September, 2012
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy