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Telomere shortening in elderly individuals with mild cognitive impairment may be attenuated with ω-3 fatty acid supplementation: a randomized controlled pilot study


O'Callaghan, Nathan, Parletta, Natalie, Milte, Catherine M., Benassi-Evans, Bianca, Fenech, Michael, Howe, Peter R.C.


Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.), Volume: 30, No.: 4, Pages.: 489-491

Year of Publication



Objectives: Excessive shortening of the telomeric ends of chromosomes is a marker of accelerated aging. Oxidative stress and nutritional deficiency may influence this process. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (ω-3 PUFA) supplementation on telomeric shortening in elderly individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).; Methods: Thirty-three adults ages > 65 y with MCI were randomized to receive a supplement rich in the long-chain ω-3 PUFAs eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 1.67 g EPA + 0.16 g docosahexaenoic acid DHA/d; n = 12) or DHA (1.55 g DHA + 0.40 g EPA/d; n = 12), versus ω-6 PUFA linoleic acid (LA; 2.2 g/d; n = 9) for 6 mo.; Results: The intervention did not show an increase in telomere length with treatment and there was a trend toward telomere shortening during the intervention period. Linear mixed modeling produced a robust model although statistically underpowered. Telomere shortening was greatest in the LA group (d = 0.21) than in the DHA (d = 0.12) and EPA groups (d = 0.06). Increased erythrocyte DHA levels were associated with reduced telomere shortening (r = -0.67; P = 0.02) in the DHA group.; Conclusion: Telomeric shortening may be attenuated by ω-3 PUFA supplementation, requiring further investigation in larger samples.; Crown Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Bibtex Citation

@article{O_Callaghan_2014, doi = {10.1016/j.nut.2013.09.013}, url = {}, year = 2014, month = {apr}, publisher = {Elsevier {BV}}, volume = {30}, number = {4}, pages = {489--491}, author = {Nathan O{textquotesingle}Callaghan and Natalie Parletta and Catherine M. Milte and Bianca Benassi-Evans and Michael Fenech and Peter R.C. Howe}, title = {Telomere shortening in elderly individuals with mild cognitive impairment may be attenuated with $upomega$-3 fatty acid supplementation: A randomized controlled pilot study}, journal = {Nutrition} }


3 fatty acids, acid, aged, aging, alphalinolenic acid, blood, chromosones, complications, dha, dhad, dietary supplements, docosahexaenoic, docosahexaenoic acids, drug effects, eicosapentaenoic, eicosapentaenoic acid, elderly, ends, epa, epad, erythrocytes, g, gd, humans, la, length, linoleic, metabolism, mild cognitive impairment, of, pharmacology, pilot projects, pufa, pufas, telomere length, telomere shortening, telomeric

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Types of Study

Randomised Controlled Trial

Type of Outcomes


Type of Interventions

Pharmaceutical Interventions

Pharmaceutical Interventions

Herbal remedies, vitamins, dietary supplements