Press release

New study links COVID-19 to increased risk of neurological disorders – could omega-3s be a potential nutritional solution?

Parsippany, 26 October 2022

Royal DSM, a global science-based company active in Health, Nutrition and Bioscience, comments on the findings from a recently published paper in Nature Medicine which reported that those infected with COVID-19 are at increased risk of long-term neurologic disorders that persist post infection.1 These symptoms are one part of what is now known as “long COVID”, which is estimated to impact 7.5% of adults in the total US population.2 The neurological conditions reported include cerebrovascular disease, cognition and memory disorders, sensory disorders and mental health conditions. Risk of neurologic conditions related to long COVID were elevated even in people who were not hospitalized with acute COVID-19 infection. The recent study also demonstrated that the risk was present regardless of age, race and sex, or conditions such as obesity, smoking, diabetes and immune dysfunction, amongst other factors. 

Researchers are working hard to understand the mechanisms by which COVID-19 infection leads to the neurological disorders observed in long COVID. Mechanisms of great interest include the inflammatory and oxidative stress responses present in COVID-19 infection. It is hypothesized that omega-3s – namely eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – could help to lessen the impact of long COVID because they play an important role in modulating the inflammatory response and resolving inflammation in the body.3,4 Additionally, omega-3s have been shown to have a positive impact on brain health – including brain development,5,6,7 cognitive performance8,9 and mood10,11,12,13 – thus these nutritional ingredients are of particular interest in the context of neurological outcomes.

The recent publication indicates promising opportunities to expand research on the potential role of omega-3 supplementation as part of a strategy to support long COVID symptoms. “As a global leader of nutritional lipid solutions, DSM remains at the forefront of new developments in omega-3 science,” comments Dr. Sonia Hartunian-Sowa, Director of Science, Translation, & Advocacy, DSM. “We’re keen to help expand knowledge surrounding the role these important ingredients play in this emerging field of research and ultimately inspire the development of purpose-led health solutions.”

For more information, join DSM at SupplySide West 2022 (booth 4355), or visit here.



Royal DSM is a global, purpose-led company in Health, Nutrition & Bioscience, applying science to improve the health of people, animals and the planet. DSM’s purpose is to create brighter lives for all. DSM’s products and solutions address some of the world’s biggest challenges while simultaneously creating economic, environmental and societal value for all its stakeholders – customers, employees, shareholders, and society at large. The company was founded in 1902 and is listed on Euronext Amsterdam. More information can be found at  

For more information

Eleanor Tarling

Barrett Dixon Bell
+44 (0) 7467 783675  


1.  Xu et al. Long-term neurological outcomes of COVID-19. Nature Medicine, September, 2022.

2.  CDC Long COVID or Post-COVID conditions.

3.  Yang et al. Long COVID and long chain fatty acids (LCFAs): Psychoneuroimmunity implication of omega-3 LCFAs in delayed consequences of COVID-19. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 2022, 103:19-27.

4.  Basil and Levy. Specialized pro-resolving mediators: endogenous regulators of infection and inflammation. Nature Reviews Immunology, 2016, 16(1):51-67.

5.  Makrides et al. Fatty acid composition of brain, retina and erythrocytes in breast- and formula-fed infants. Am J Clin Nutr. 1994, 60(2):189-194.

6.  Colombo et al. Long-term effects of LCPUFA supplementation on childhood cognitive outcomes, Am J Clin Nutr. 2013, 98(2):403–12.

7.  Martinez. Tissue levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids during early human development. J Pediatr. 1992, 120(4 Pt 2):S129-138.

8.  Witte et al. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids improve brain function and structure in older adults. Cereb Corte. 2014, 24(11):3059–3068.

9.  Martí and Fortique. Omega-3 fatty acids and cognitive decline: a systematic review. Nutr Hosp, 2019, 36(4):939-949.

10.  Liao et al. Efficacy of omega-3 PUFAs in depression: A meta-analysis. Translational Psychiatry, 2019, 9(190):1–9.

11.  Hallahan et al. Efficacy of omega-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids in the treatment of depression. The British J of Psychiatry, 2016, 209(3):192-201.

12.  Guu et al. International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research Practice Guidelines for omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of major depressive disorder. Psychotherapy & Psychodynamics. 2019, 88(5):263-273.

13.  Mocking et al. Meta-analysis and meta-regression of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids supplementation for major depressive disorder. Translational Psychiatry, 2016, 6(3):e756.