Are there benefits to fish oil supplements beyond the heart? Here’s what we know so far:
Memory loss. DHA doesn’t seem to slow Alzheimer’s disease or the usual cognitive decline that occurs as healthy people age, but few studies have been done.
Depression. The largest trial done so far was an industry-funded one of 432 people with major depression. EPA (1,050 mg a day) plus DHA (150 mg a day) had a modest benefit among those who didn’t also have anxiety disorder, but most studies have been disap¬pointing.
Vision loss. DHA (350 mg a day) plus EPA (650 mg a day) didn’t slow the progression of macular degeneration or prevent cataracts.
Sources: Neurol. 71: 430, 2008; Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 91: 1725, 2010; JAMA 304: 1903, 2010; J. Clin. Psychiatr. 72: 1054, 2011; Mol. Psychiatr. 17: 1272, 2012; JAMA 2013. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.4997; JAMA Ophthalmol. 2013. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol .2013.4412.
Other relevant links:
- What’s the story on fish oil? See: Fish Oil and Heart Attacks
- Can eating fish protect your brain? See: Fish and the Brain
- Omega-3 claims show up on far more than fish. See: How to Diet: Is Adding Omega-3s to Processed Foods Beneficial?