Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 172801, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/172801
Review Article

Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Early Prevention of Inflammatory Neurodegenerative Disease: A Focus on Alzheimer’s Disease

1Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Microbiology, La Trobe University, Bundoora 3086, VIC, Australia
2Department of Rehabilitation, Nutrition and Sport, La Trobe University, Bundoora 3086, VIC, Australia

Received 26 September 2014; Revised 23 February 2015; Accepted 23 February 2015

Academic Editor: Gabriella Calviello

Copyright © 2015 J. Thomas et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the leading cause of dementia and the most common neurodegenerative disease in the elderly. Furthermore, AD has provided the most positive indication to support the fact that inflammation contributes to neurodegenerative disease. The exact etiology of AD is unknown, but environmental and genetic factors are thought to contribute, such as advancing age, family history, presence of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes, and poor diet and lifestyle. It is hypothesised that early prevention or management of inflammation could delay the onset or reduce the symptoms of AD. Normal physiological changes to the brain with ageing include depletion of long chain omega-3 fatty acids and brains of AD patients have lower docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) levels. DHA supplementation can reduce markers of inflammation. This review specifically focusses on the evidence in humans from epidemiological, dietary intervention, and supplementation studies, which supports the role of long chain omega-3 fatty acids in the prevention or delay of cognitive decline in AD in its early stages. Longer term trials with long chain omega-3 supplementation in early stage AD are warranted. We also highlight the importance of overall quality and composition of the diet to protect against AD and dementia.