Fish oil could help people with Alzheimer's gain weight

January 19, 2009 in Nutrition for Older Adults, Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Fish oil could help people with Alzheimer's gain weight

Fish oil supplements could help Alzheimer's patients maintain a healthy weight, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

In the early stages of Alzheimer's, people tend to lose weight as the disease progresses by affecting appetite and behaviour.

As people with Alzheimer's disease often have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids, researchers from Karolinksa University Hospital Huddinge in Stockholm decided to look at whether supplementing with these nutrients might improve weight and appetite.

They assigned 204 men and women with mild to moderate Alzheimer's to 700 milligrams of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and 600 milligrams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), or a placebo. Initial weight and any changes in body weight were noted during the study, as well as anu subjective changes in appetite.

After six months, Alzheimer's sufferers who supplemented with DHA and EPA had gained 1.5 pounds (0.7 kg).  After one year of supplementing, weight gain increased to three pounds (1.4 kg).

Caregivers of people with Alzheimer's said the fish oil supplements improved the appetite of their loved ones.

Though the results were not statistically significant, the scientists say an omega-3 fatty acid supplement with DHA may positively affect weight and appetite in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.


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