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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 61-68

Impact of a diet rich in n-3 fatty acids on Alzheimer's disease

1 Institute of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt
2 Outpatient Medical Laboratory, Cairo, Egypt
3 Department of Community Medicine, National Nutrition Institute, Cairo, Egypt
4 Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, BeniSueif University, BeniSueif, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Abeer M. Eissa
MD, Institute of Psychiatry,WHO Collaborating Center for Training and Research, Ain Shams University, Abbasia, Cairo
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.7123/01.EJP.0000422813.73592.b3

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Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. The potential effect of nutrition on development of AD has become a topic of increasing scientific and public interest. High intakes of saturated and trans-unsaturated (hydrogenated) fats were positively associated with increased risk for AD, whereas intakes of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats were protective against cognitive decline in the elderly. Would foods rich in these fatty acids delay cognitive decline in elderly people who are vulnerable to AD?


The aim of this study was to measure the concentration of plasma fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in patients with AD and study the relationship between foods rich in these fatty acids and severity of cognitive decline.


A total of 62 individuals were screened for cognitive decline using the mini-mental status examination test and were diagnosed with AD using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed., diagnostic criteria. Data on nutrition were obtained and blood samples were withdrawn to determine the plasma levels of the fatty acids EPA and DHA.


Patients with late-onset AD have significantly higher intake of food and food supplements containing both fatty acids.


High intake of food and food supplements rich in EPA and DHA fatty acids may delay the onset of AD.

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