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Vitamin D and Omega-3 may reduce cortical atrophy with age – Nov 2013

Blood markers of fatty acids and vitamin D, cardiovascular measures, body mass index and physical activity relate to longitudinal cortical thinning in normal aging

Neurobiology of Aging, published online 25 November 2013.
Kristine B. Walhovd
Andreas B. Storsve
Lars T. Westlye
Christian A. Drevon
Anders M. Fjell


We hypothesized that higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and physical activity relate to cortical sparing, whereas higher levels of cholesterol, systolic blood pressure and BMI relate to increased atrophy in the adult lifespan. Longitudinal measures of cortical thickness were derived from MRI scans acquired (mean interval 3.6 years) from 203 healthy persons aged 23-87 years. At follow-up, measures of BMI, blood pressure, and physical activity were obtained. Blood levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), vitamin D, and cholesterol were measured in a subsample (n= 92). Effects were tested in cortical surface-based analyses, with sex, age, follow-up interval and the interactions between each included as covariates.

Higher levels of DHA, vitamin D and physical activity related to cortical sparing. Higher cholesterol and BMI related to increased cortical thinning. Effects were independent, did not interact with age, and the cholesterol effect was restricted to males. EPA and blood pressure showed no effects. The observed effects show promise for potential factors to reduce cortical atrophy in normal aging.


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