Publications by Dr. Angela M. Rizzo

Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Volume 29, Issue 1, 2010


Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Supplementation on Depressive Symptoms and on Health-Related Quality of Life in the Treatment of Elderly Women with Depression: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Clinical Trial


Mariangela Rondanelli PhDac*, Attilio Giacosa MDd, Annalisa Opizzie, Claudio Pelucchi ScDe, Carlo La Vecchia MDe, Gigliola Montorfanof, Manuela Negronif, Bruno Berra PhDf, Pierluigi Politi PhDb & Angela Maria Rizzo PhDf



Objective: In elderly individuals, depression is one of the most frequently missed diagnoses with negative effects on quality of life. The authors investigated whether a supplement containing long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFA) improves depressive symptoms and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in depressed elderly patients. Design: Eight-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Setting: Nursing home in Pavia, Italy. Participants: Forty-six depressed women, aged 66–95 years. Intervention: Twenty-two depressed women were included in the intervention group (n-3 group, which received 2.5 g/d of n-3 LCPUFA, with 1.67 g of eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] and 0.83 g of docosahesaenoic acid [DHA]), and 24 patients were included in the placebo group. The primary endpoint was the improvement of depressive symptoms, as evaluated by the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). Secondary endpoints were the evaluation of HRQoL, by using the Short-Form 36-Item Health Survey (SF-36), and modifications of erythrocyte membrane phospholipids fatty acid profile. All variables were assessed before and after the treatment period of 8 weeks. Results: The mean GDS at 8 weeks was significantly lower compared with the n-3 group. The SF-36 physical and mental components were significantly increased in the intervention group. Compliance was good, as confirmed by erythrocyte membrane phospholipid FA concentrations, with a significant increase of EPA and DHA in the intervention group. Conclusion: Supplementation with n-3 LCPUFA is efficacious in the amelioration of depressive symptoms and quality of life in the treatment of depressed elderly female patients.




Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:82


Comparison between the AA/EPA ratio in depressed and non depressed elderly females: omega-3 fatty acid supplementation correlates with improved symptoms but does not change immunological parameters


Angela Maria Rizzo*, Paola Antonia Corsetto, Gigliola Montorfano, Annalisa Opizzi, Milena Faliva, Attilio Giacosa, Giovanni Ricevuti, Claudio Pelucchi, Bruno Berra and Mariangela Rondanelli



Background: Depression is one of the most frequently missed diagnoses in elderly people, with obvious negative effects on quality of life. Various studies have shown that long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) may be useful in its management. Our objective was to evaluate whether a supplement containing n-3 PUFA improves depressive symptoms in depressed elderly patients, and whether the blood fatty acid pattern is correlated with these changes. Methods:The severity of depressive symptoms according to the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), blood fatty acid composition and erythrocyte phospholipids were analyzed in 46 depressed females aged 66-95y, diagnosed with depression according to DSMIV, within the context of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. 22 depressed females were included in the intervention group (2.5 g/day of n-3 PUFA for 8 weeks), and 24 in the placebo group. We also measured immunological parameters (CD2, CD3, CD4, CD8, CD16, CD19 and cytokines (IL-5, IL-15). Results: The mean GDS score and AA/EPA ratio, in whole blood and RBC membrane phospholipids, were significantly lower after 2 months supplementation with n-3 PUFA. A significant correlation between the amelioration of GDS and the AA/EPA ratio with some immunological parameters, such as CD2, CD19, CD4, CD16 and the ratio CD4/CD8, was also found. Nevertheless, omega-3 supplementation did not significantly improve the studied immunological functions. Conclusions: n-3 PUFA supplementation ameliorates symptoms in elderly depression. The n-3 PUFA status may be monitored by means of the determination of whole blood AA/EPA ratio.




Nutr Neurosci. 2007 Feb-Apr;10(1-2):1-9.


Plasma, red blood cells phospholipids and clinical evaluation after long chain omega-3 supplementation in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


Germano M, Meleleo D, Montorfano G, Adorni L, Negroni M, Berra B, Rizzo AM.



Omega-3 and omega-6 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs), are crucial to brain development and function. Increasing evidence indicates that deficiencies or metabolic imbalances of these fatty acids might be associated with childhood developmental and psychiatric disorders including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Omega-3 are often lacking on modern diets. Moreover preliminary evidences suggest that supplementation with omega-3 LCPUFAs, might help in the management of the ADHD linked behavioural and learning difficulties. However, few studies published to date have involved different populations, study designs, treatments and outcome results. Thus, further researches are required to assess the durability of the treatment effects, to determine optimal composition and dosages of the supplement and to develop reliable ways to identify patients that might have some benefits from this kind of treatment, also because the study of LCPUFAs and their metabolism might offer new approaches to the early identification and management of ADHD. In this paper, we provide new insight on the lipid pattern in plasma and red blood cells (RBC) phospholipids, together with evaluation of the arachidonic acid (AA)/eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) ratio which seems to correlate with the improvement of the patients both from a biochemical and clinical point of view.