A new study reported in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reported positive outcomes for a combination of three nutrients in the prevention of Alzheimer’s in older individuals.

The trial included 198 participants in the Tone Project involved men and women aged 65 years and older in Japan.  The participants were allowed offered the choice of receiving nutritional supplementation, taking part in a two year exercise program, or participating in both treatments. The study launched in 2002, 171 men and women who elected to receive supplements were given capsules containing 290 mg EPA and 203 mg DHA from fish oil, 240 mg Ginkgo biloba leaf extract and 84 mg lycopene from tomato for three years. At the beginning and end of the study, neuropsychological were administered and at the first and second follow-up visits during 2004-2005 and 2008-2009.

During  follow-up, 76 subjects were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Adherence to the supplement regimen was associated with a 31% lower adjusted risk of the disease in comparison to no supplementation. Although engaging in the exercise regimen was associated with a 21% lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease compared with those who did not take part in the program, the benefit was no longer observed after adjustment for a number of factors.

“To our knowledge, this is the first intervention study to report the positive effect of a combination of supplements on Alzheimer’s disease prevention,” authors Shogyoku Bun and colleagues announce.  “Altogether, supplementation of multiple nutrients, rather than a single nutrient, may hold better promise to tackle this complicated disease.”

“It is also noteworthy that three years of supplementation intervention seems to have maintained its positive effect even three to four years after its completion,” they remark. “This gives us a new insight that the protective effect of supplementation may persist for several years.”