A randomized placebo-controlled pilot trial of omega-3 fatty acids and alpha lipoic acid in Alzheimer's disease.J Alzheimers Dis. 2014; 38(1):111-20.JA
Oxidative stress, inflammation, and increased cholesterol levels are all mechanisms that have been associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology. Several epidemiologic studies have reported a decreased risk of AD with fish consumption. This pilot study was designed to evaluate the effects of supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids alone (ω-3) or omega-3 plus alpha lipoic acid (ω-3 + LA) compared to placebo on oxidative stress biomarkers in AD. The primary outcome measure was peripheral F2-isoprostane levels (oxidative stress measure). Secondary outcome measures included performance on: Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Activities of Daily Living/Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (ADL/IADL), and Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale (ADAS-cog). Thirty-nine AD subjects were randomized to one of three groups: 1) placebo, 2) ω-3, or 3) ω-3 + LA for a treatment duration of 12 months. Eighty seven percent (34/39) of the subjects completed the 12-month intervention. There was no difference between groups at 12 months in peripheral F2-isoprostane levels (p = 0.83). The ω-3 + LA and ω-3 were not significantly different than the placebo group in ADAS-cog (p = 0.98, p = 0.86) and in ADL (p = 0.15, p = 0.82). Compared to placebo, the ω-3 + LA showed less decline in MMSE (p < 0.01) and IADL (p = 0.01) and the ω-3 group showed less decline in IADL (p < 0.01). The combination of ω-3 + LA slowed cognitive and functional decline in AD over 12 months. Because the results were generated from a small sample size, further evaluation of the combination of omega-3 fatty acids plus alpha-lipoic acid as a potential treatment in AD is warranted.