Long-Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake is Associated with Age But Not Cognitive Performance in an Older Australian Sample

A. T. Wade, E. Tregoweth, D. Greaves, T. S. Olds, J. D. Buckley, H. A.D. Keage, A. M. Coates, Ashleigh E. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCn-3 PUFA) are essential nutrients and may be capable of delaying age-related cognitive decline. However, previous studies indicate that Australians are not meeting recommendations for LCn-3 PUFA intake. The current study therefore examined LCn-3 PUFA intake in an older Australia sample, as well as associations between LCn-3 PUFA intake and cognitive function. Methods: Cross-sectional data were collected from 90 adults aged 50 to 80 years. LCn-3 PUFA intake was assessed using a food frequency questionnaire and red blood cell fatty acid profiles were used to calculate the Omega-3 Index (RBC n-3 index). Cognitive function was measured using Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination-Ill. Results: Positive associations were observed between age and RBC n-3 index (b=0.06, 95% CI: 0.01–0.10, P=0.01), and age and LCn-3 PUFA intake from fish oil capsules (b=17.5, 95% CI: 2.4 − 32.5 mg/day, P=0.02). When adjusting for LCn-3 PUFA from fish oil capsules, the association between age and RBC n-3 index was no longer significant. No associations were observed between LCn-3 PUFA intake and cognitive function. Conclusion: LCn-3 PUFA and fish oil consumption increased with age in this sample of older Australians, particularly due to supplement intake. However, LCn-3 PUFA intake was not associated with cognitive function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)857-864
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutrition, Health and Aging
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • aging
  • cognitive function
  • diet
  • n-3
  • nutrition
  • omega-3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

Cite this