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Trial registered on ANZCTR

Registration number
Ethics application status
Date submitted
Date registered
Date last updated
Date data sharing statement initially provided
Date results information initially provided
Type of registration
Prospectively registered

Titles & IDs
Public title
The effects of combining omega-3, vitamin D and protein with exercise on cognition in older people
Scientific title
A multi-faceted intervention to enhance cognition in older people at risk of cognitive decline: the Protein, Omega-3 aNd vitamin D Exercise Research (PONDER) study
Secondary ID [1] 290350 0
Universal Trial Number (UTN)
Trial acronym
Protein, Omega-3 aNd vitamin D Exercise Research (PONDER)
Linked study record

Health condition
Health condition(s) or problem(s) studied:
Dementia 300635 0
Frailty 300638 0
Age-related cognitive decline 300639 0
Condition category
Condition code
Neurological 300481 300481 0 0
Studies of the normal brain and nervous system
Mental Health 300482 300482 0 0
Studies of normal psychology, cognitive function and behaviour
Musculoskeletal 300483 300483 0 0
Normal musculoskeletal and cartilage development and function

Study type
Description of intervention(s) / exposure
Participants will take part in a community based exercise program which will be conducted in local leisure centres twice per week for 6 months. Participants will be allocated to either a 6 month multi-modal exercise program combining moderate intensity resistance training or a flexibility, stretching and agility program. The multi-modal exercise program will include 2 sets of 8 resistance exercises, with 8-12 reps completed at an intensity of at least 13/20 on the BORG RPE scale. All exercise sessions will be delivered by qualified personal trainers and each session will last approximately 60 minutes. Participants will also consume a daily supplement drink containing 1.5 grams combined EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acids, 1000 IU vitamin D3 and 25 grams whey protein for 6 months or a placebo drink. The supplement will be provided in powder form to be mixed with water. Outcomes will be assessed 6 months post-baseline after the exercise program has been completed and at 12 months post baseline to assess the longer term effects of the intervention. Adherence to the exercise programs will be monitored by the personal trainers and recorded on the participants exercise cards. Participants will record supplement intake on calendars which will be reviewed monthly.
Intervention code [1] 296166 0
Intervention code [2] 296333 0
Comparator / control treatment
A placebo drink will be matched for appearance and caloric content.
Control group

Primary outcome [1] 299912 0
Cognitive function assessed using the CogState battery and the Trail Making Test
Timepoint [1] 299912 0
baseline, 6 months
Secondary outcome [1] 328501 0
Cognitive function assessed using the CogState battery, the Trail Making Test and the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA)
Timepoint [1] 328501 0
baseline, 12 months
Secondary outcome [2] 328503 0
Mood as assessed by the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS)
Timepoint [2] 328503 0
baseline, 6 and 12 months
Secondary outcome [3] 328504 0
Quality of life as assessed by the Short Form Health Survey (SF-36)
Timepoint [3] 328504 0
baseline, 6 and 12 months
Secondary outcome [4] 328505 0
Physical function as assessed by maximal muscle testing, the four metre walk test, the four square step test, the two minute step test, the grip strength test and 30 second site to stand test
Timepoint [4] 328505 0
baseline, 6 and 12 months
Secondary outcome [5] 328506 0
Body composition as assessed by whole body dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA)
Timepoint [5] 328506 0
baseline, 6 and 12 months
Secondary outcome [6] 328507 0
Red blood cell omega 3 profile
Timepoint [6] 328507 0
baseline, 6 and 12 months
Secondary outcome [7] 328508 0
Sleep Quality as assessed by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index
Timepoint [7] 328508 0
baseline, 6 and 12 months
Secondary outcome [8] 328509 0
Blood pressure
Timepoint [8] 328509 0
baseline, 6 and 12 months
Secondary outcome [9] 329037 0
Serum Vitamin D
Timepoint [9] 329037 0
baseline, 6 and 12 months
Secondary outcome [10] 329039 0
Hip to waist ratio
Timepoint [10] 329039 0
baseline, 6 months and 12 months
Secondary outcome [11] 329040 0
Pulse wave veolcity
Timepoint [11] 329040 0
baseline, 6 months and 12 months
Secondary outcome [12] 329141 0
Areal bone mineral density as assessed by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA)
Timepoint [12] 329141 0
baseline, 6 months and 12 months

Key inclusion criteria
1. Healthy adults aged 60 to 85
2. Subjective memory complaints defined as a positive response to the question “do you feel like your memory is becoming worse?” and a score of >17 on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment.
3. Fluent in written and spoken English
4. Normal, or corrected to normal vision and hearing
Minimum age
60 Years
Maximum age
85 Years
Both males and females
Can healthy volunteers participate?
Key exclusion criteria
1. Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, parkinson’s disease
2 .Past history of brain damage including significant head trauma, stroke, or
serious neurological disorder
3. Clinical diagnosis of psychiatric disorder likely to affect cognition
4. Alcohol or drug dependency within the last 2 years
5. Existing diagnosed gastrointestinal disorders likely to impact absorption of fatty acids
6. Known allergy to fish or any other component in the dietary supplement
7. Insufficient mobility to exercise
8. Body mass index >40
9. Current smokers
10. Participating in progressive resistance training >1 week or more >150 minutes per week of moderate intensity physical activity
11. Daily use of omega-3 rich supplement, or vitamin D supplements >500 IU within the past 12 weeks
12. Use of cholinesterase inhibitors, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, high dose antidepressants, warfarin or high dose blood thinners
13. Resistance hypertension
14. Type 2 diabetes
15. Oily fish consumption (>1/week)

Study design
Purpose of the study
Allocation to intervention
Randomised controlled trial
Procedure for enrolling a subject and allocating the treatment (allocation concealment procedures)
An independent holder of the randomisation schedule who will have no contact with the volunteers or be involved in data analysis, will perform treatment allocation
Methods used to generate the sequence in which subjects will be randomised (sequence generation)
Computer generated simple randomization, stratified for age and gender
Masking / blinding
Blinded (masking used)
Who is / are masked / blinded?
The people receiving the treatment/s

The people analysing the results/data
Intervention assignment
Other design features
Not Applicable
Type of endpoint(s)
Statistical methods / analysis

Recruitment status
Active, not recruiting
Date of first participant enrolment
Date of last participant enrolment
Date of last data collection
Sample size
Accrual to date
Recruitment in Australia
Recruitment state(s)

Funding & Sponsors
Funding source category [1] 294731 0
Government body
Name [1] 294731 0
Address [1] 294731 0
National Health and Medical Research Council
GPO Box 1421
Canberra ACT 2601
Country [1] 294731 0
Funding source category [2] 294733 0
Government body
Name [2] 294733 0
Address [2] 294733 0
Australian Research Council
GPO Box 2702,
Canberra ACT 2601,
Country [2] 294733 0
Primary sponsor type
Deakin University
Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research
221 Burwood Hwy
Victoria 3125
Secondary sponsor category [1] 293579 0
Name [1] 293579 0
Address [1] 293579 0
Country [1] 293579 0

Ethics approval
Ethics application status
Ethics committee name [1] 296150 0
Deakin University Human Research Ethics Committee (DUHREC)
Ethics committee address [1] 296150 0
Deakin Research Integrity
Burwood Campus Victoria
Postal: 221 Burwood Highway
Victoria 3125
Ethics committee country [1] 296150 0
Date submitted for ethics approval [1] 296150 0
Approval date [1] 296150 0
Ethics approval number [1] 296150 0

Brief summary
The Protein, Omega-3 aNd vitamin D Exercise Research (PONDER) study is a randomised controlled trial which will investigate the effects of combining a structured exercise program with dietary supplements on cognition and muscle mass and function in people aged 60 -85 years. The PONDER study is being run by researchers from the Institute of Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) at Deakin University in Burwood. People who take part in this research will be assigned to one of two exercise programs run in a community based gym. Participants will either receive a dietary supplement drink which contains a combination of protein, omega 3 fish oil and vitamin D, or a placebo. The exercise programs will be run for 6 months in community based gyms under the supervision of qualified trainers. Participants will be asked to attend Deakin University in Burwood on 4 occasions over 12 months to undergo cognitive and health testing and to visit a local pathology centre on 3 occasions for a blood test. Participants in this study will attend 2 x 60 min supervised exercise sessions per week at a local gym, for a period of six months and will be asked to consume a dietary supplement daily during this time.
Trial website
Trial related presentations / publications
Public notes

Principal investigator
Name 69766 0
Dr Helen Macpherson
Address 69766 0
Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition
Deakin University
221 Burwood Hwy
Vic 3125
Country 69766 0
Phone 69766 0
+61 3 9244 5317
Fax 69766 0
Email 69766 0
Contact person for public queries
Name 69767 0
Ms Sarah Brownell
Address 69767 0
Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition
Deakin University
221 Burwood Hwy
Vic 3125
Country 69767 0
Phone 69767 0
+61 3 9246 8660
Fax 69767 0
Email 69767 0
Contact person for scientific queries
Name 69768 0
Dr Helen Macpherson
Address 69768 0
Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition
Deakin University
221 Burwood Hwy
Vic 3125
Country 69768 0
Phone 69768 0
+61 3 9244 5317
Fax 69768 0
Email 69768 0

Data sharing statement
Will individual participant data (IPD) for this trial be available (including data dictionaries)?
No/undecided IPD sharing reason/comment
What supporting documents are/will be available?
Summary results
Have study results been published in a peer-reviewed journal?
Other publications
Have study results been made publicly available in another format?
Results – basic reporting
Results – plain English summary