10th January 2013: Omega-3 intake improves working memory in health young adults

A proof of concept study, conducted by the University of Pittsburgh, suggests that omega-3 intake improved verbal working memory in health young adults.  The study was small, only 11 young people aged between 18 and 25 and was published on PLoS One.  Before taking the supplements, the omega-3 content of the participants' red blood cells was analysed and they performed a verbal working memory test in which they were shown a series of letters and numbers.  They had to keep track of what appeared one, two and three times prior, known as an 'n-back test'.  The participants then took a a supplement of DHA and EPA once a day for six months.  The results revealed that blood omega-3 status and working memory were significantly associated with each other at the pre-treatment baseline.  After six months the tests were repeated and it was found that superior memory performance was associated with higher blood levels of omega-3.

"Before seeing this data, I would have said that it was impossible to move young healthy individuals above their cognitive best" said Bita Moghaddam, Project Investigator and Professor of Neuroscience.  "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"

View the full paper here.

View an article about this news item on MedicalXpress here

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