May 3, 2010

2 Min Read
Algal DHA Fights Cognitive Decline

COLUMBIA, Md.Older healthy adults who consume algal docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may realize improvements in cognitive function and memory, according to a study published in Alzheimers & Dementia (ePub May 3, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.jalz.2010.01.013). Martek Biosciences funded the Memory Improvement with Docosahexaenoic Acid Study (MIDAS), which used Marteks vegetarian and sustainable algal DHA, marketed as lifesDHA.

The randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled clinical study was conducted at 19 U.S. clinical sites and included 485 healthy subjects, ages 55 years and above. Subjects were considered to have age-related cognitive decline (ARCD), based on baseline memory and mental state tests. Participants received 900 mg/d of oral DHA or matching placebo for 24 weeks. Primary outcome was the CANTAB Paired Associate Learning (PAL), a visuospatial learning and episodic memory test.

Intention-to-treat analysis demonstrated significantly fewer PAL six pattern errors with DHA versus placebo at the end of intervention. In fact, the subjects taking DHA had almost double the reduction in errors, which investigators said correlated to having learning and memory skills of someone three years younger. DHA was also associated with improved immediate and delayed Verbal Recognition Memory scores, but not working memory or executive function tests. Subjects taking DHA had double their baseline plasma levels of DHA, which directly correlated with improved PAL scores.

Up to one third of the more than 75 million baby boomers in the U.S. will experience a gradual decline in cognitive function as they age, said Edward B. Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., medical director for Martek and co-author of the study. MIDAS is significant because it shows for the first time that taking 900 mg of algal DHA daily may have a very meaningful and important impact on cognitive function in the aging population.

Karin Yurko-Mauro, Ph.D., associate director of clinical research for Martek and project lead of MIDAS, added, We have known for a long time based on the strong body of epidemiological research that DHA may play in important role in cognitive function, particularly in the aging population. With MIDAS, we now have clinical evidence to indicate that 900 mg of algal DHA improves memory and learning in aging adults.

Subscribe and receive the latest insights on the health and nutrition industry.
Join 37,000+ members. Yes, it's completely free.

You May Also Like