The brain is a lipid-rich organ and thus it is reasonable to question the role of fatty acids in normal brain function, including cognition. The purpose of this article is to examine our current knowledge on the relationship between omega-3 fatty acids (ω3FA) and cognitive function and explore the therapeutic implications of ω3FA in the prevention and treatment of cognitive impairment. Published crosssectional and prospective observational research, though not fully consistent, predominantly support the role of ω3FA in decreasing the risk of cognitive decline. However, to date, the results from randomized controlled trials have been predominantly null, with the exception of supplementation in individuals with mild cognitive impairment. Whether lack of evidence is a result of insufficient study design or absence of actual benefit warrants further clinical research. Given the low side effect profile, high accessibility, and relatively low cost, it is reasonable to recommend, at minimum, the dietary intake of ω3FA or supplementation of fish oil in alignment with the 2010 Department of Health and Human Services Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health