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Nutrients 2017, 9(1), 54; doi:10.3390/nu9010054

The n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Supplementation Improved the Cognitive Function in the Chinese Elderly with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial

1
Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, College of Public Health, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou 450001, China
2
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention of China Pingmei Shenma Group, Pingdingshan 467000, China
3
Department of Nutrition, Tianjin Institute of Health and Environment Medicine, Tianjin 300050, China
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 October 2016 / Revised: 27 December 2016 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 10 January 2017
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Abstract

Objective: Intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) may protect against mild cognitive impairment (MCI). However, there is still a lack of the n-3 PUFAs intervention in the elderly with MCI in China. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of n-3 PUFA supplementation on cognitive function in the Chinese elderly with MCI. Methods: Eighty six MCI individuals aged 60 years or older were randomly assigned to receive either n-3 PUFAs (480 mg DHA and 720 mg EPA per day, n = 44) or placebo (olive oil, n = 42) capsules. The changes of cognitive functions were assessed using Basic Cognitive Aptitude Tests (BCAT). Results: The mean age of participants was 71 years old, and 59% of the participants were men. n-3 PUFA supplementation was associated with improved total BCAT scores, perceptual speed, space imagery efficiency, and working memory (p < 0.01), but not with mental arithmetic efficiency or recognition memory (p > 0.05). Subgroup analysis by sex showed that n-3 PUFAs significantly improved perceptual speed (p = 0.001), space imagery efficiency (p = 0.013), working memory (p = 0.018), and total BCAT scores (p = 0.000) in males. However, in females, the significant beneficial effects can only be observed in perceptual speed (p = 0.027), space imagery efficiency (p = 0.006), and total BCAT scores (p = 0.015)—not working memory (p = 0.113). Conclusion: n-3 PUFAs can improve cognitive function in people with MCI. Further studies with different fish oil dosages, longer intervention periods, and larger sample sizes should be investigated before definite recommendations can be made. View Full-Text
Keywords: n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; mild cognitive impairment; elderly; cognition; basic cognitive aptitude tests n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; mild cognitive impairment; elderly; cognition; basic cognitive aptitude tests
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Bo, Y.; Zhang, X.; Wang, Y.; You, J.; Cui, H.; Zhu, Y.; Pang, W.; Liu, W.; Jiang, Y.; Lu, Q. The n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Supplementation Improved the Cognitive Function in the Chinese Elderly with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients 2017, 9, 54.

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