Scientists develop new omega-3 supplement to ward off dementia

For the first time researchers have developed a fatty acid supplement that is capable of crossing the retina

Pixabay/Ewa Urban

A new omega-3 supplement that can cross the retina could play a role in preventing blindness as a result of Alzheimer’s disease.

The research, which was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Seattle, describes a new dietary supplement capable of overcoming both intestinal and blood retinal barriers to improve retinal function.

Dr Sugasini Dhavaman, research assistant professor af the University of Illinois at Chicago, highlighted that the supplement could potentially be beneficial for various forms of retinopathy in patients.

“This provides a novel therapeutic approach for the prevention or mitigation of retinal dysfunction associated with Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes,” she said.

The researchers tested levels of omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in mouse models of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease who were fed the supplement daily.

After six months, mice fed the new supplement had a 96% improvement in retinal DHA content. Those fed currently available omega-3 supplements – including fish oil and krill oil – did not experience a change in their retinal DHA levels.

Further studies will need to be conducted to ensure that the new supplement is safe and effective in humans.