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High DHA Fish Oil Improves Memory in Healthy Adults

High DHA Fish Oil Improves Memory in Healthy Adults
Get Your Brain into Gear with DHA

Fish is often referred to as brain food. Alongside a decent whack of protein and minerals, it is thought that the main constituent in fish that supports brain function is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). This long-chain omega 3 fatty acid is essential for the development, structure and function of the brain throughout all life stages.

There has been plenty of clinical research supporting the use of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for optimal neurological development in babies, infants and children, for the treatment of various psychological disorders and for prevention of age related cognitive decline, but very little research on the healthy adult population.

Now, clinical research led by Professor Welma Stonehouse et al at Massey University in Auckland has reported that supplementing with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), derived from fish oil, improves memory and speed of memory recall in healthy adults*1.

This research from Massey University has shown very positive results for adults wanting to support and improve their cognitive and mental agility. The six month, randomised, placebo controlled, double blind study investigated what would happen to the cognitive function of otherwise healthy adults aged 18-45 (who didn’t eat much fish), if they were given a high potency fish oil supplement providing 375mg of DHA, three times a day.

The six month study showed statistically significant improvements in working memory and other aspects of memory in women and improvements in the speed of working memory in men treated with DHA compared with placebo. So what does this all mean in real life terms?

Working memory is a key cognitive function that allows us to hold information for brief periods of time, typically a few seconds, in order to complete a task. It’s one of our most crucial cognitive capabilities, essential for sustaining attention, following directions, carrying out multistep instructions, remembering information momentarily, complex reasoning or staying focused on a project. Working memory also helps us to control our attention and resist distractions.

The quality of your working memory is thought to determine the quality of your learning and problem solving prowess. So improvements in working memory essentially supports your capacity to learn new skills, follow the teacher or boss’s instructions, think on your feet and not get distracted by Facebook at work. Great!

The Massey trial also showed that DHA supplementation enhanced other aspects of memory, including the ability to store and recall information over a longer period. This action could be helpful in supporting those needing to stay on top of their game at work, remember the names of those important business contacts or perform during the much feared exam week!

Lead Investigator Professor Welma Stonehouse comments:
“This is the first robust study to show that a DHA-rich supplement can improve some aspects of memory functioning in young healthy adults that normally follow an omega-3 deficient diet. These findings contribute to the growing body of research showing that omega-3’s play a very important role in brain function throughout the life cycle, even in healthy cognitively intact individuals.”

“The cognitive functions shown to be affected by the DHA-rich fish oil, namely memory and working memory, are among the most important functions of our brains for numerous everyday activities, such as working, driving, shopping, studying, playing sports, etc. Maintaining brain health and getting your brain to perform at its optimal capacity is just as vital as maintaining physical wellbeing and health.”

So if you are feeling like your brain is struggling along in low gear, or you just want a little bit of an unfair advantage, try supplementing with good quality high DHA fish oil! TAPS Approval No: PP1666


1. Stonehouse W, Conlon C, Podd J, Hill S, Kennedy D, and Haskell C (2011) DHA Supplementation influences cognitive performance in healthy young adults Abstract Presented Australia New Zealand Joint Nutrition Conference 29the November 2011


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