The gut-brain axis in Alzheimer’s disease and omega-3. A critical overview of clinical trials

Francesca La Rosa, Mario Clerici, Daniela Ratto, Alessandra Occhinegro, Anna Licito, Marcello Romeo, Carmine Di Iorio, Paola Rossi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Despite intensive study, neurodegenerative diseases remain insufficiently understood, precluding rational design of therapeutic interventions that can reverse or even arrest the progressive loss of neurological function. In the last decade, several theories investigating the causes of neurodegenerative diseases have been formulated and a condition or risk factor that can contribute is described by the gut-brain axis hypothesis: stress, unbalanced diet, and drugs impact altering microbiota composition which contributes to dysbiosis. An altered gut microbiota may lead to a dysbiotic condition and to a subsequent increase in intestinal permeability, causing the so-called leaky-gut syndrome. Herein, in this review we report recent findings in clinical trials on the risk factor of the gut-brain axis in Alzheimer’s disease and on the effect of omega-3 supplementation, in shifting gut microbiota balance towards an eubiosis status. Despite this promising effect, evidences reported in selected randomized clinical trials on the effect of omega-3 fatty acid on cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease are few. Only Mild Cognitive Impairment, a prodromal state that could precede the progress to Alzheimer’s disease could be affected by omega-3 FA supplementation. We report some of the critical issues which emerged from these studies. Randomized controlled trials in well-selected AD patients considering the critical points underlined in this review are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1267
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 8 2018


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Microbiota
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Omega-3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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