Bilal E. Kerman, Wade Self, Hussein N. Yassine

Can the gut microbiome inform the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation trials on cognition?

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

Purpose of review Most omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 PUFA) supplementation clinical trials report inconsistent or null findings on measures of cognition or Alzheimer's disease (AD) with a relatively large variability in the response to n-3 PUFA supplementation. The purpose of this review is to identify whether the gut microbiome together with the metabolome can provide critical insights to understand this heterogeneity in the response to n-3 PUFA supplementation. Recent findings A Western diet with high saturated fat and omega-6 fatty acid content, obesity, and lack of exercise puts strain on the gut microbiome resulting in imbalance, dysbiosis, reduced bacterial diversity, and increased abundance of the pro-inflammatory taxa. A plant-based diet has beneficial effects on the gut microbiota even when deficient in n-3 PUFAs. Human and animal studies show that increased intake of the n-3 PUFAs correlates with increased beneficial intestinal bacteria when compared to a Western diet. Summary The composition of the gut microbiota can help define the effects of n-3 PUFA supplementation on the brain and lead to more personalized nutritional interventions.

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