A new study conducted by researchers in Sweden tested the effects of daily supplementation with 2.3 g PUFAs (1.7 g DHA and 0.6 g EPA) in AD patients for six months on novel biomarkers in the cerebrospinal fluid. – Aβ 38, Aβ 40, Aβ 42, t-tau, p-tau, neurofilament light (NfL), chitinase-3-like protein 1 (YKL-40), acetylcholinesterase (AChE), butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE), soluble IL- 1 type II receptor (sIL-1RII) and IL-6.
The researchers also examined the possible correlation between these biomarkers and performance in the Mini-Mental cognitive test
State examination (MMSE).
“This study is unique. She is the first to collect data on these new biomarkers in people with Alzheimer’s disease who are treated with omega-3 fatty acids (FFAs), ”says author Yvonne Freund-Levi, Senior Lecturer at Örebro University.
The study included 33 patients, 18 of whom received omega-3 supplements in the morning and evening and 15 were the control group. Spinal fluid samples were taken and patients performed a memory test at the start of the study and after six months.
“We see that the memory function of the patients in the group who took omega-3 is stable, while the patients in the control group have deteriorated. The memory tests show that, ”says Freund-Levi.
“But we can’t see any differences between the groups when we look at the different biomarkers in the spinal fluid samples.”
What the researchers can see, however, is that there are differences within the omega-3 group. There was an increase in two of the markers associated with damaged nerve cells – YKL-40 (p = 0.04) and NfL 236 (p = 0.03) and a significant decrease in the MMSE score in the placebo group ( p = 0.01), but not in the omega-3 group. However, there was no clinical link with the memory tests.
It has already been established that YKL-40 and NfL are increased in the CSF in patients with AD compared to healthy controls, which may indicate neuroinflammation or axonal damage.
There could be additional explanations for the rise in NfL and YKL-40 such as: The authors point out that there were no differences between the groups, so these results should be interpreted with caution.
“While these data are not currently sufficient for us to change our recommendations for patients, they are interesting material for researchers to build on.”
This study is based on a larger study with over 200 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease that was initiated 15 years ago by Yvonne Freund-Levi and her research team. In this study, the researchers examined, among other things, whether omega-3 fatty acids get into the brain from the dietary supplements – and came to the conclusion that this is indeed the case.
“We are reluctant to make recommendations, but we know that it is by far best to start early – it is difficult to influence the disease at a later stage. The best advice we can give right now is to be physically active ”and include omega-3s in your diet – in the form of oily fish or as a dietary supplement. We can see a difference in the results of the memory tests. Patients who took omega-3 supplements early in the disease did better. “Adds Freund-Levi.
A big step forward is that in the future researchers will be able to examine the biomarkers in blood samples instead of having to perform a spinal tap on the patient.
Freund-Levi says they have already tested this approach at Sahlgrenska University Hospital and “no doubt, if blood biomarkers become a clinical practice, it will be much better for patients.”
Source: Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Tofiq. A., Zetterberg. H., Blennow, K., Basun ,. H., Cederholm, T., Eriksdotter, M., Faxén-Irving. G., Hjorth, E., Jernerén, F., Schultzberg, M., Wahlund, LO., Palmblad, J. and Freund-Levi, Y.,
“Effects of Oral Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation on Biomarkers of Cerebrospinal Fluid in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial – The OmegAD Study”
DOI: 10.3233 / JAD-210007