A High Omega-3 Fatty Acid Multinutrient Supplement Benefits Cognition and Mobility in Older Women: A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Pilot Study

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BACKGROUND: Mobility is a key determinant of frailty in older persons, and a variety of dietary factors, such as the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are positively associated with decreased frailty and improved mobility and cognition in older persons.

METHODS: The effects of a multinutrient supplement on mobility and cognition were assessed in postmenopausal women (60-84 years). Participants received either Efalex Active 50+ (1g DHA, 160 mg eicosapentaenoic acid, 240 mg Ginkgo biloba, 60 mg phosphatidylserine, 20mg d-α tocopherol, 1mg folic acid, and 20 µg vitamin B12 per day; N = 15) or placebo (N = 12) for 6 months. Mobility was assessed by VICON 9 motion capture camera system synchronized with Kistler force plates, cognitive performance by computerized cognitive function tests, and blood fatty acid levels by pin-prick analysis.

RESULTS: Significant effects of treatment were seen in two of the four cognitive tests, with shorter mean latencies in a motor screening task (p < .05) and more words remembered (p < .03), and one of the three primary mobility measures with improved habitual walking speed (p < .05). Compared with the placebo group, supplementation also resulted in significantly higher blood DHA levels (p < .02).

CONCLUSIONS: In this pilot study, multinutrient supplementation improved cognition and mobility in able older females at clinically relevant levels, suggesting a potential role in reducing the decline to frailty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-242
JournalJournals of Gerontology Series A: Biomedical Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition Disorders
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Female
  • Fish Oils
  • Frail Elderly
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Plant Oils
  • Treatment Outcome

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