From babies to boomers, it appears that omega-3 fatty acids like those found in oily fish may support brain health and cognitive function no matter what your age. In the past, most of the research on omega-3 fatty acids and their affect on your brain focused on opposite ends of the age spectrum—babies and aging adults.
Now a new study finds that young people, who were thought to already be at their mental peak, could experience a boost in working memory with omega-3 fatty acids.
The study participants—all healthy young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 took 2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day containing 750 mg docosahexaenonic acid (DHA) and 930 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) for a period of six months.
Then the researchers tested their memory with a simple recall game. The scientists were somewhat amazed to find that the study subjects boosted their working memory up to 23 percent.
"Before seeing this data, I would have said it was impossible to move young healthy individuals above their cognitive best," said Bita Moghaddam, project investigator and professor of neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh.
While the researchers were able to show that omega-3 fatty acids produced gains in cognitive function in young people, they were not successful in identifying the mechanism behind this effect.
In addition to promoting cognitive function, studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids provide the same cardiovascular benefits for young adults as older adults.