Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and brain aging : Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care

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LIPID METABOLISM AND THERAPY: Edited by Philip C. Calder and Richard J. Deckelbaum

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and brain aging

Denis, Isabellea; Potier, Brigitteb; Heberden, Christinec; Vancassel, Sylvied

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Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care 18(2):p 139-146, March 2015. | DOI: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000141


Purpose of review 

The literature on the influence of dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (ω-3 PUFA) on brain aging has grown exponentially during the last decade. Many avenues have been explored but no global picture or clear evidence has emerged. Experimental studies have shown that ω-3 PUFA is involved in many neurobiological processes that are involved in neurotransmission and neuroprotection, indicating that these PUFAs may prevent age-related brain damage. Human studies have revealed only a weak link between ω-3 PUFA status and cognitive aging, whereas interventional studies have yet to confirm it. The purpose of this review is to analyze the developments in the area during the last 2 years.

Recent findings 

Human brain MRI studies have confirmed previous findings that ω-3 PUFA can protect the brain during aging; two intervention studies obtained clear evidence. We also analyzed the experimental data clarifying the involvement of ω-3 PUFA in neurotransmission, neuroprotection (including prevention of peroxidation, inflammation, and excitotoxicity), and neurogenesis, thereby helping the brain cope with aging.


These recent human and experimental studies provide support for and clarification of how ω-3 PUFA protect against brain aging and highlight the main lines for future research.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

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