Omega-3 Fats Boost Memory and Improve Decision Making Skills
In a landmark study, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have published the results of a study in the journal PLoS ONE that demonstrates how Omega-3 essential fatty acids such as those found in foods like wild fish and grass-fed livestock are necessary for human body functioning, and improve the working memory and level of cognition. The study authors determined that healthy adults can improve their working memory by increasing their Omega-3 fatty acid intake.
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Omega-3 Supplements Alter Dopamine Levels in the Brain to Improve Memory and Decision Making Skills
Lead study author, Dr. Bita Moghaddam commented “Before seeing this data, I would have said it was impossible to move young healthy individuals above their cognitive best… we found that members of this population can enhance their working memory performance even further, despite their already being at the top of their cognitive game.” To conduct the study, scientists assembled a cohort of healthy young men and women to receive a standardized Omega-3 supplement for a period of six months.
At the outset of the study, participants underwent PET scans and had blood samples drawn. Each performed a numerical working memory test known as an ‘n-back test’ to assess their ability to recall number sequences. The researchers noted that numerical abilities corresponded to plasma Omega-3 levels before supplementation. After the six month study period, blood samples were again drawn and memory recall tests were performed.
Supplement Daily with a Standardized Fish Oil Capsule to Boost Memory and Cognition
Virtually all prior studies involving Omega-3 levels and cognition have been performed on aging adults, and the scientists wanted to assess if memory could be improved in younger adults at the peak of physical and cognitive function. The authors concluded “But what about our highest-functioning periods? Can we help the brain achieve its full potential by adapting our healthy behaviors in our young adult life? We found that we absolutely can.”
The authors cited past studies showing that Omega-3 supplementation in mice improved levels of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with mood as well as working memory, and increases a protein known as VMAT2 that is associated with decision making. Although the researchers did not make this causative conclusion in their study, it should be clear to all health-conscious individuals that daily supplementation with a quality Omega-3 fish oil is important to maintain brain heath and improve memory in adolescents and adults of all ages.
In addition to boosting memory, the long chain Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA have been shown to effectively lower the risk of heart disease and heart attack and reduce the occurrence of dementia in aging adults. Omega-3 fats improve systemic inflammation to aid vascular elasticity and reduce the risk of blood clots that can result in a cardiovascular event. Additionally, the fats are preferentially incorporated into the cell wall matrix of neurons to aid neurotransmitter communications and the flow of oxygen and nutrients for efficient cellular metabolism.
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John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and diet, health and nutrition researcher and author with a passion for understanding weight loss challenges and encouraging health modification through natural diet, lifestyle and targeted supplementation. John’s passion is to research and write about the cutting edge alternative health technologies that affect our lives.
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