Omega 3 Supplementation Improves Working Memory In Young Adults

Omega-3 supplementation improves working memory in young adults

Trial uncovers protective effect for multinutrient supplement against cancer

Friday, November 2, 2012. The journal PLOS One published an article on October 3, 2012 that reveals a benefit for supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids on working memory in young men and women.

University of Pittsburgh researchers led by Rajesh Narendran of the Department of Radiology tested the effects of a supplement providing 930 milligrams eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 750 milligrams docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in 11 men and women between the ages of 18 and 25. Evaluation of working memory (via an "n-back test"), positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of the brain and tests for red blood cell fatty acid levels were conducted before and after the six month treatment period.

Participants experienced an increase in plasma omega-3 fatty acid levels and improvement in working memory at the end of six months. "What was particularly interesting about the presupplementation n-back test was that it correlated positively with plasma omega-3,"observed Bita Moghaddam, whose lab conducted the research. "This means that the omega-3s they were getting from their diet already positively correlated with their working memory."

"Before seeing this data, I would have said it was impossible to move young healthy individuals above their cognitive best," he remarked. "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."

Although the researchers had suggested increases in dopamine storage and a protein involved in decision making in a particular area of the brain as mechanisms supporting omega-3's effect on cognitive function, PET scan results failed to support the hypothesis. "It is really interesting that diets enriched with omega-3 fatty acid can enhance cognition in highly functional young individuals," Dr Narendran commented. "Nevertheless, it was a bit disappointing that our imaging studies were unable to clarify the mechanisms by which it enhances working memory."

"So many of the previous studies have been done with the elderly or people with medical conditions, leaving this unique population of young adults unaddressed," coauthor Matthew F. Muldoon noted. "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."

What's Hot Highlight

How DHA helps the brain

What's Hot

In an article published online on June 20, 2012 in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton provide an explanation for the ability of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, found in oily fish and algae) to support memory.

A team led by Yves Sauve, who is a member of the University of Alberta's Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, divided ten mice to receive a diet supplemented with DHA or an unsupplemented diet. Animals that received DHA-enhanced diets were found to have a 29 percent higher level of DHA in the brain's hippocampus region—which is involved in memory--compared to the control group. Higher DHA levels were associated with increased synaptic transmission in the hippocampus following brief stimulation. "This increase in synaptic transmission might provide a physiological correlation for the improved spatial learning and memory observed following DHA supplementation," the authors conclude.

"We wanted to find out how fish intake improves memory," explained Dr Sauve, who works in the University's department of physiology, the department of ophthalmology and the Centre for Neuroscience. "What we discovered is that memory cells in the hippocampus could communicate better with each other and better relay messages when DHA levels in that region of the brain were higher. This could explain why memory improves on a high-DHA diet."

He added that supplementing your diet with DHA, either by increasing fish intake or by consuming omega-3 supplements, may help protect against reduced brain DHA levels as we age.

Free Webinar

Life Extension®'s Latest Discoveries for 2013

Hosted by Michael A. Smith, M.D.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
7 PM—8 PM ET

Please join Life Extension®'s webinar highlighting our latest discoveries for 2013. Don't miss this sneak preview of our exciting anti-aging innovations. The webinar's host is Michael Smith, MD, known by his fans as the "country doctor with a city education." You can also catch Dr Mike on The Suzanne Show, Suzanne Somers' new talk show airing weekly on the Lifetime network.

Reserve your webinar seat now at:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the webinar.

System Requirements

PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer

Mobile attendees
Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android Tablet

Visit to view past webinars!

Latest Supplements

Optimized Quercetin

PQQ Caps with BioPQQ™ 10 mg,
30 vegetarian capsules

Item #01500

add to cart

PQQ is an essential nutrient, meaning that your body cannot make it on its own. A growing body of research indicates that PQQ's unique nutritional profile supports heart health and cognitive function—alone and in combination with CoQ10. This comes as no surprise, given how much energy these vital organs need.

Research shows that PQQ supports heart cell function in the presence of free radicals and promotes blood flow in the heart muscle. When taken in combination with CoQ10, just 20 mg per day of PQQ has been shown to promote memory, attention, and cognition in maturing individuals.

Life Extension has identified a purified, highly potent form of PQQ from Japan that is produced through a unique fermentation process. The result is BioPQQ™, the highest quality PQQ available on the market today.


Kyolic® Garlic Formula 102

Vitamin B12 500 micrograms,
100 tablets

Item #00361

add to cart

Vitamin B12 is present in foods of animal origin, including dairy products and eggs. Thus, vegetarians are more susceptible to a dietary deficiency of this important nutrient. Likewise, vitamin B12 serum concentrations are reported to be significantly lower in elderly population groups compared to younger groups. It is estimated that 10% to 30% of individuals over the age of 50 have low stomach acid secretion which results in decreased bioavailability of vitamin B12 from food. To overcome food-bound vitamin B12 malabsorption problems, the Institute of Medicine recommends that vitamin B12-fortified foods (such as fortified ready-to-eat breakfast cereals) or supplements containing vitamin B12 be used to meet much of the requirement. Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, works synergistically with vitamin B6 and folate to regenerate (methylate) the amino acid methionine, which helps to maintain already healthy homocysteine levels within normal range, which is important for heart health.



Life Extension Update What's Hot
DHA helps preserve memory and brain volume DHA supplementation associated with memory improvement
Omega-3 users are different Greater intake of fish and omega-3 fatty acids linked with reduced cognitive decline
Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation associated with decreased cognitive decline in older men and women Supplement use and increased omega-3 fatty acid levels are associated with improved cognitive aging
Life Extension Magazine® Health Topics
Omega-3 fatty acids increase brain volume: while reversing many aspects of neurologic aging Age related cognitive decline
Optimize your omega-3 status personalized blood test reveals a novel cardiac risk factor Prevention protocols
Fighting depression and improving cognition with omega-3 fatty acids    


BioPQQ™ is a trademark of MGC (Japan).