It is common belief that fish oil helps our brain. This is why many people take fish oil supplements daily, believing that they can prevent people from suffering from mental decline.
These supplements are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to be able to keep your memory intact and boost those cognitive functions.
However, a new study conducted by researchers from the US National Institute of Health shows that these beliefs are largely unfounded. The research is very large, as it involved about 4,000 elderly people who were monitored for about five years.
These patients’ age was 72, on average, and more than half of them (58 percent) were female. They suffered from age-related macular degeneration, which is a type of vision loss.
At the beginning of the study, in 2011, they all had their memory and cognitive functions tested. These tests were repeated four years later.
After the researchers carried out the first tests, they assigned the patients involved in the trial to take either pills containing the eicosapentaenoic acid and the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are omega-3 fatty acids or placebo pills.
The results showed that the cognition scores decreased to the same extent after four years for all the groups. This basically means that the combination of supplements made no difference.
“Contrary to popular belief, we didn’t see any benefit of omega-3 supplements for stopping cognitive decline,” said lead study author Emily Chew, who is a deputy clinical director at the NIH’s National Eye Institute.
It is important to note that people who are used to consuming salmon, halibut and tuna, which are rich in healthy fatty acids, usually have a healthier brain, heart and better eye vision than those who don’t . Nevertheless, the pills found in drugstores are not so useful in preventing cognitive decline.
The study was funded by the National Institute of Health in the United States.
These results are quite worrying because there are many people out there who suffer from dementia. Alzheimer’s Disease International reported that there are about 47 million people diagnosed with this mental illness. Experts are concerned that this number will be tripled by 2050. This is why efforts are made to find ways to prevent it.
The results of the study were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Tuesday, August 25.
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