Fish oil pills 'do not stop the march of Alzheimer's', new study shows
High hopes: But the study showed that fish oil supplements have little impact on Alzheimer's sufferers
The ‘memory-boosting’ supplements did not affect progression of the disease at any stage, a £7million study has found.
The increased belief in fish oil’s powers of protection against degenerative brain disease has spawned a multi-million-pound industry.
But the U.S. study’s lead researcher Dr Joseph Quinn, of Oregon Health and Science University, said: ‘We had high hopes that we’d see some efficacy but we did not.’
Fish oil supplements, rich in the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, are known to benefit brain function and some previous trials had suggested they could slow or prevent mental decline in Alzheimer’s.
In the latest study, almost 400 men and women with an average age of 76 and mild to moderate Alzheimer’s were randomly assigned to take either 200mg DHA pills or dummy pills daily for 18 months.
DHA occurs naturally in the brain but is found in reduced amounts in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
The trial found similar rates of physical and mental decline in both groups using scoring systems and MRI brain scans.
Supplements did not slow the development of Alzheimer’s even in a subgroup of patients with the mildest symptoms.
‘There is no basis for recommending DHA supplementation for patients with Alzheimer’s disease,’ says a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.