More Evidence that Fish Oil Supplements Support Memory and Brain Health in Older Adults

November 02, 2015

More Evidence that Fish Oil Supplements Support Memory and Brain Health in Older Adults

Researchers from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center set out to determine the effects of long chain omega-3 fatty acids, the key ingredients found in fish oil capsules (commonly known as EPA and DHA) on brain activity in older adults who complained of impaired memory.

This is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, meaning it is the Gold Standard for human clinical trials. The researchers examined the reaction of the brain to memory testing using a procedure known as the BOLD response. BOLD measures the level and ability of the brains neurons to react to information by looking at their usage of oxygen. It is measured by a powerful imaging tool known as a functional MRI. The part of the brain they were zeroing in on was the posterior cingulate cortex and if the BOLD response improves, the brain is working better. The posterior cingulate cortex is a part of the brain that is important for awareness and episodic memory. It seems to be a high energy hub for connecting activities in different brain structures. Working memory allows you to manipulate and use memories already stored in your brain for understanding information and applying it to issues. This allows you to undertake complex tasks because of your ability to understand, learn, reason, and apply this data to solve problems.

The study included healthy adults but with memory complaints whose ages ranged from 62 to 80; they did not have dementia. They were supplemented with fish oil capsules or a placebo (a fake pill) for 24 weeks. After 24 weeks, the level of BOLD activity was significantly greater in the fish oil group compared with placebo.

The study further supports existing evidence that fish oil *This study was published online October 24, 2015 in The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging,.