Omega-3-rich fish consumption may improve brain function across a broad demographic spectrum, suggest three new studies from around the world.

For the first study, Dutch researchers, used data from a trial, involving 404 men and women (average age 60 at the start). he researchers report that higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a 60 % lower decline in mental processing speed over three years.

 abstract : n 3 Fatty acid proportions in plasma and cognitive performance in older adults, Dullemeijer C et al., Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Nov;86(5):1479-85

In the second study, researchers in New Zealand investigated if a relationship existed between the composition of fats in the blood and the mental and physical well-being of 2416 people participating in the 1997 National Nutrition Survey.  They found that the higher the proportion of EPA in the blood, and the higher the ratio of EPA to arachidonic acid (AA) the better the physical well-being of the peson, and the higher the ratio of EPA to AA the better the mental well-being. EPA is the fatty acid found in oily fish and fish oil supplements while AA is mostly found in meat and dairy products.

 abstract  :  Serum phospholipid n 3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and physical and mental health in a population-based survey of New Zealand adolescents and adults, Crowe FL et al., Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Nov;86(5):1278-85

The final study examined the relationship between consumption of seafood products and cognitive performance in 2031 elderly Norwegians. The researchers report those eating at least 10 grams of fish a day performed significantly better in tests for cognitive performance than people who ate less than 10 grams of fish and fish products. The best test scores occurred in those who consumed the most fish and fish products - about 75 grams per day. Interestingly, there was no significant difference between the consumption of lean or fatty fish, suggesting that the effects were due to something other than omega-3 fatty acids.

 abstract  : Cognitive performance among the elderly and dietary fish intake: the Hordaland Health Study, Nurk E et al., Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Nov;86(5):1470-8

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