Fish Oil capsules plus Lipoic Acid slow down Alzheimer’s disease deterioration

December 09, 2013

Fish Oil capsules plus Lipoic Acid slow down Alzheimer’s disease deterioration

A team of researchers from Oregon Health & Science University in Portland published the outcome of a recent year long trial showing the benefits of supplements in Alzheimer's patients. The team led by Lynne Shinto, ND, an associate professor at the University, has shown that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids found in Fish Oil supplements, given in conjunction with alpha lipoic acid could actually slow the functional and the cognitive declines seen in patients with Alzheimer's disease.

The team randomly split thirty-nine men and women with Alzheimer's disease into three groups. One group was placed on a daily regimen supplemented with three grams fish oil concentrate (providing 975 milligrams EPA and 675 milligrams DHA), a second received fish oils plus 600 milligrams of alpha lipoic acid, and the last group received a placebo, all for one year. Blood tests and evaluations of cognitive and functional performance were administered before and after the treatment period.

In comparison with the placebo group, participants who received omega-3 fatty acids plus alpha lipoic acid demonstrated a lesser decline in the Mini-Mental State Examination - an evaluation of global cognitive function. They also did better in the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) evaluation of functional ability. Those who received omega-3 fatty acids alone also showed less functional decline as indicated by IADL performance.

As possible mechanisms for omega-3 fatty acids and alpha lipoic acid, the authors remark that DHA has been shown in animal studies to help protect nerve cells, and that lipoic acid delayed cognitive decline in two previous studies involving patients with Alzheimer's disease. The nutrients are also known to help reduce inflammation – a factor in Alzheimer’s.

"Combining omega-3 with lipoic acid slowed both cognitive and functional decline in mild to moderately impaired Alzheimer's disease participants over 12 months, and the combination appears to be safe at the doses evaluated," the authors conclude. "A larger pilot trial is underway to further assess the benefit and potential mechanism of action of this novel combination for Alzheimer's disease." Teams from the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Portland, and the Department of Pathology at the University of Washington in Seattle also participated in the study. The findings are published in the Journal of Alzheimer's, Volume 38, Number 1, 2014.