Over-50s who buy fish oil supplements to boost brains ‘are wasting their money’

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OLDER Brits should not waste their money buying brain-boosting supplements such as fish oil, experts warn.

Instead they should invest in a pair of walking shoes and eat plenty of salmon and trout, if they want to stave off dementia.

Older Brits have been told that brain-boosting supplements are a waste of money
Alamy

A major review by the Global Council on Brain Health found there is “no convincing evidence” nutritional supplements designed to improve thinking skills, memory, or Alzheimers’s symptoms actually work.

Fish oil pills are often marketed as benefiting brain power – and millions of Brits take the over-the-counter capsules daily.

The report says pensioners can get all their key nutrients from a healthy diet. Eating plenty of fruit and veg has been repeatedly linked with better brain health.

Sarah Lenz Lock, Executive Director of the GCBH, said: “Rather than buying a dietary supplement, spend money on new walking shoes or a salmon dinner.”

In 2016, Brits spent £906 million on food supplements.

NO EVIDENCE OMEGA-3 SUPPLEMENTS WORK

The global council is an independent collaborative of scientists, health professionals, academics and policy experts.

Their review focussed on the over-50s and considered the evidence supporting a range of vitamin and supplements.

In a consensus statement, the council said: “For most people, the best way to get your nutrients for brain health is from a healthy diet.”

The report recommends consumption of fatty fish as potentially beneficial.

But it said there was “insufficient evidence” to support the use of omega-3 fish oil supplements.

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s Charity Director said: “These eminent experts have concluded it doesn’t do any good to take supplements to promote your brain health in later life so our advice to older people is to save your money and spend it on a healthy diet, full of delicious fruit and vegetables instead.”

ACTIVITIES TO PROMOTE WELLBEING

Dr Jana Voigt, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Understanding how our diet affects our brain health as we age is important and could give us clues about how to prevent dementia cases. We welcome this independent, wide-scale report by the Global Council on Brain Health which concludes that there is no good evidence to suggest that any specific dietary supplement can improve the health of the brain.”

*PET visits and baking should be offered to people with dementia to boost their quality of life, according to an NHS watchdog.

It wants health bosses to provide the 850,000 Brits affected by the condition with a range of activities that help promote wellbeing.

As well as stroking cats and dogs, other potential pastimes include choirs, art, gardening, mindfulness and exercise classes.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence says those with dementia should be able to pick hobbies they enjoy.

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE, said: “People with dementia can find it harder to take part in activities, to engage socially, to maintain their independence, to communicate effectively, to feel in control and to care for themselves.

“Providing enjoyable and health-enhancing activities like music or reminiscence therapy can help with this.”


Dr Emma Derbyshire from the Health and Food Supplements Information Service, which represents makers, said: “It is inappropriate to suggest that appropriately labelled food supplements do not contribute to brain health. In addition, food supplements are not medicines for curing disease or alleviating medical symptoms of any nature.

“They are, as the name suggests, food supplements to bridge dietary gaps, including for those nutrients that have an impact on brain health.

“In particular, omega-3 supplementation which can make an important contribution to brain development and brain function.”

Caroline Abrahams says experts have provided evidence fish supplements don’t work
Caroline Abrahams, LinkedIn

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