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Fish oil and cognitive function, not impressive


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11 replies to this topic

#1 VictorBjoerk

  • Location:Sweden

Posted 29 April 2010 - 09:27 PM


http://www.medicalne...cles/186367.php

The largest ever trial of fish oil supplements has found no evidence that they offer benefits for cognitive function in older people.

The OPAL study investigated the effects of taking omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplements over a two year period on the cognitive function of participants aged 70-80 years.

The number of people with cognitive impairment is rising and it is estimated that by 2040, more than 81 million people globally will have
dementia.



So much for fish oil, it seems like more and more evidence is piling on showing that fish oil doesn't help a lot with age-related diseases like cancer and dementia.

Fish oil is commonly recommended by a lot of people in the worldwide health business against autism, cancer, heart disease, alzheimers etc.

However one may start wondering if it really is anything to spend your own (or your aging relatives) money on.

#2 miklu Re: Fish oil and cognitive function, not impressive

  • Location:Finland

Posted 29 April 2010 - 09:38 PM

So much for fish oil, it seems like more and more evidence is piling on showing that fish oil doesn't help a lot with age-related diseases like cancer and dementia.

Fish oil is commonly recommended by a lot of people in the worldwide health business against autism, cancer, heart disease, alzheimers etc.

However one may start wondering if it really is anything to spend your own (or your aging relatives) money on.


No nutrient is a panacea. Even if it was useful only for, say, heart disease, I'd gladly take it.

#3 Matt Re: Fish oil and cognitive function, not impressive

  • Location:United Kingdom

Posted 29 April 2010 - 09:42 PM

i notice better mood and concentration when taking fish oil, ever since i used it I had noticed it. There was a small trial here at a school and they found that the group of children taking omega 3 increased their reading ability by 3 years in 3 months whereas the placebo group there was no improvement... hmmm. There are always studies to show different i suppose. There was another study recently on omega 3 showing that it doesnt improve learning ability in children.

Edited by Matt, 29 April 2010 - 09:43 PM.


#4 nameless Re: Fish oil and cognitive function, not impressive

Posted 29 April 2010 - 10:42 PM

One thing about this study though is the control group's cognitive function didn't decline either. What that could simply mean is that the study didn't go on for long enough.

You sort of want one or both groups to display some cognitive decline due to age to use as a comparison between the two test groups.

#5 kismet Re: Fish oil and cognitive function, not impressive

  • Location:Austria, Vienna
  • yes

Posted 30 April 2010 - 10:04 AM

If you buy into hype, expect to be disappointed. And the "health business" pretty much lives off hype. Anything LEF, AOR or big pharma tells you about their product(s) must be taken with a great salt. Fish oil is not impressive, but at least it seems effective for CVD-
The lack of cognitive decline in this study is unfortunate too.

Edited by kismet, 30 April 2010 - 10:09 AM.


#6 Logan Re: Fish oil and cognitive function, not impressive

  • Location:Arlington, VA

Posted 02 May 2010 - 05:13 AM

If you buy into hype, expect to be disappointed. And the "health business" pretty much lives off hype. Anything LEF, AOR or big pharma tells you about their product(s) must be taken with a great salt. Fish oil is not impressive, but at least it seems effective for CVD-
The lack of cognitive decline in this study is unfortunate too.


You really think fish oil isn't impressive? Maybe not for some but for me and many others it has had a fairly profound impact. I speak mostly of mood and energy. Maybe there is some cognitive enhancement that comes along with enhanced mood and energy.

#7 ken_akiba Re: Fish oil and cognitive function, not impressive

  • Location:USA for now but a Japanese national

Posted 02 May 2010 - 12:07 PM

I personally don't understand fishoil craze in the West. I take zero fishoil. Having sushi once or twice a week is more than enough for me.

#8 Forever21 Re: Fish oil and cognitive function, not impressive

Posted 02 May 2010 - 09:03 PM

This just in: Fish is still good for you.

#9 nushu Re: Fish oil and cognitive function, not impressive

  • Location:NC

Posted 03 May 2010 - 02:52 AM

A few months ago I stopped taking fish oil for a week, was having minor surgery and didn't want to take a chance. After 4 days off it I began feeling awful, my mood suffered big time. Back on 10g/day and feel good now.

#10 Rational Madman Re: Fish oil and cognitive function, not impressive

  • Location:District of Columbia

Posted 03 May 2010 - 04:39 AM

If you buy into hype, expect to be disappointed. And the "health business" pretty much lives off hype. Anything LEF, AOR or big pharma tells you about their product(s) must be taken with a great salt. Fish oil is not impressive, but at least it seems effective for CVD-
The lack of cognitive decline in this study is unfortunate too.

Since I'm unfamiliar with the origins of the expression, or its usage in Austria or Turkey, I presume you meant to say "taken with a grain of salt." Anyway, fish oil, like any dietary supplement, is certainly not a panacea that exerts palpable effects without regard to individual choice or circumstance, and should not be treated as such. Despite the disappointing results of this study, its positive effects on low density lipoproteins and inflammatory markers have been clearly established to the satisfaction and pleasure of consumers, researchers, and proprietors---who've predictably capitalized on its potential for reducing the effects of aging, poor lifestyle choices, and unfortunate genetic outcomes. For quantifying its effect on cognitive function, though, the latter virtue is of greater importance, and if the presence of inflammation were to be a criterion for inclusion in any future broad and long-term study, its effects on the dependent variable would likely be more in accordance with some previous findings. At the same time, there are other mitigating factors---principally lifestyle choices---that are more difficult to control in a study with a similar ambition. So, to encapsulate, the positive cognitive effects should be much more pronounced in studies that recruit subjects that maintain an exceptionally healthy lifestyle, or subjects suffering from chronic inflammation that has not been satisfactorily tamed.

#11 nameless Re: Fish oil and cognitive function, not impressive

Posted 03 May 2010 - 05:22 AM

There were a couple of things in this study I found a little unusual, which could have skewed the results.

First, the dosage: 200mg EPA, 500mg DHA/daily. It's not a particually high amount of Omega 3s, to begin with. But the EPA dose is downright skimpy. Looking at brain studies, or depression/mood studies to be exact, those that found a positive benefit used around a gram of EPA/daily, or high EPA to DHA ratios.

And if inflammation reduction was something they were going for, I think more than 200mg EPA would be needed.

Although the serum levels of EPA/DHA were higher in the fish oil group by the end of the study, the serum numbers didn't seem to be particularly that much higher in my opinion: (50 mg vs 39 mg EPA/L and 96 mg vs 71mg DHA/L).

And the control group was given olive oil as a placebo. I wonder if olive oil provided a benefit on its own?

#12 ken_akiba Re: Fish oil and cognitive function, not impressive

  • Location:USA for now but a Japanese national

Posted 03 May 2010 - 09:46 AM

Fishoil sale plummeted in Japan a couple of years ago. It is Seal oil we are into these days. Much more DPA content than fishoil. Heavy metal contamination is not an issue (molecular distillation).
Some people here are taking huge amount of fishoil. This is very dangerous. keep it below 3 grams a day.




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