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Omega-3s

Omega-3 fats shown to improve cognition and memory in young adults

Thursday, November 08, 2012 by: John Phillip
Tags: omega-3s, memory, DHA

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(NaturalNews) 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.

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 in healthy, young adults. The study's authors determined that healthy, young adults, aged 18 to 25 can improve their working memory even further by increasing their omega-3 fatty acid intake.

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.

Omega-3 supplements affect dopamine levels in the brain to improve memory and decision making skills

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.

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 health and improve memory in adolescents and adults of all ages.

Sources for this article include:
http://www.plosone.org
http://www.news.pitt.edu/Omega_3_Fatty_Acids_Memory
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121025122433.htm

About the author:
John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. John is the author of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan', a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise, Mind and Targeted Supplementation to achieve your weight loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to continue reading the latest health news updates, and to download your copy of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan'.
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