Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation effects on weight and appetite in patients with Alzheimer's disease: the omega-3 Alzheimer's disease study.

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2009 Jan;57(1):11-7.



To study the effects of omega (Omega)-3 fatty acid (FA) supplements on weight and appetite in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD) in relation to inflammatory biomarkers and apolipoprotein E epsilon4 (APOEepsilon4).


Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.


Specialist memory clinics in the Stockholm catchment area.


Two hundred four patients (aged 73+/-9, 52% women) with mild to moderate AD.


Patients with AD received 1.7 g of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and 0.6 g of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) (Omega-3/Omega-3 group; n=89, aged 73+/-9, 57% women) or placebo 0.6 g of linoleic acid per day (placebo/Omega-3 group; n=85, aged 73+/-9, 46% women) for 6 months. After 6 months, all patients received DHA and EPA for another 6 months.


Anthropometry, biochemical nutritional and inflammatory markers, and appetite assessed by caregiver.


Mean weight and body mass index (kg/m(2)) at baseline were 70.0+/-11.8 kg and 24.3+/-3.0 kg/m(2), respectively. At 6- and 12-month follow-up, weight had increased 0.7+/-2.5 kg (P=.02) and 1.4+/-2.9 kg (P<.001) in the Omega-3/Omega-3 group. In the placebo group, weight was unchanged at 6 months but had increased (P=.01) at 12 months follow-up after Omega-3 supplementation was initiated. Appetite improved in the Omega-3/Omega-3 group over the treatment period (P=.01). In logistic regression analyses, not carrying the APOEepsilon4 allele and high plasma DHA concentrations were independently related to weight gain in the combined group of patients at 6 months follow-up.


A DHA-enriched Omega-3 FA supplement may positively affect weight and appetite in patients with mild to moderate AD. Not carrying the APOEepsilon4 allele and high DHA were independently associated with weight gain.

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