Lukaschek K.a, b · von Schacky C.c, d · Kruse J.a, e · Ladwig K.-H.b, f
aDepartment of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University of Gießen, Gießen, bHelmholtz Zentrum München, Institute of Epidemiology II, Neuherberg, cMedizinische Klinik und Poliklinik I, University of Munich, Munich, dOmegametrix, Martinsried, eDepartment of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University of Marburg, Marburg, and fDepartment of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany
AbstractBackground: Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) may affect the risk of cognitive decline in older adults.
Methods: Cross-sectional analysis was conducted among 720 (50.4% women) participants aged 68-92 years (mean age: 77.6, SD ±6.2) of the population-based KORA-Age study. Eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (omega-3 index) were measured in erythrocytes as a percentage of total fatty acids. The categories low (<5.7), intermediate (5.7-6.8), and high (>6.8) levels of the omega-3 index were built using tertiles. The association between cognitive status and omega-3 levels was assessed by logistic regression analyses with adjustments for important concurrent risk factors of cognitive decline.
Results: In the sex- and age-adjusted model (model 1), subjects with a low omega-3 index were at a significantly higher risk for cognitive impairment (OR: 1.77, 95% CI: 1.15-2.73, p = 0.009). This association remained stable after further adjusting for educational level (model 2; OR: 1.75, 95% CI: 1.13-2.71, p = 0.01) and metabolic risk factors (model 3; OR: 1.77, 95% CI: 1.14-2.75, p = 0.01). After further controlling for affective disorders (model 4), the association did not attenuate (OR: 1.77, 95% CI: 1.14-2.76, p = 0.01).
Conclusion: A robust association was found between low omega-3 levels and cognitive impairment in an elderly population. Further research is needed to understand the link between omega-3 PUFA and cognitive functioning.