Best supplements for the brain: Omega 3 may improve verbal memory and executive function

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A study has revealed that taking a certain supplement could improved your brain health. What are the full benefits of the supplement?

A new study published in The British Journal of Nutrition suggests that daily supplementation with an omega-3 fatty acid fish oil containing 1000mg of DHA plus supporting nutrients produces similar improvements in brain function to exercise in older women.

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The study was conducted by researchers at Bournemouth University and the University of Roehampton and examined the effects of supplementation and aerobic exercise on mobility and cognitive function in older women.

Researchers identified similar significant improvements in two key measures of brain function, verbal memory and executive function.

Best supplements for the brain: Omega 3 may improve verbal memory and executive function

Best supplements: A pill to improve your brain health (Image: Getty Images)

These included:

Verbal memory – how well you can recall information; how easily you can remember words on a list.

Executive function – the way your brain manages the information it receives, planning your actions and information.

The study examined those who were taking the supplement and not exercising and those who were not taking a supplement but exercising, compared to a placebo group, and concluded that supplementation produces similar effects on brain function as exercise does.

The study was a semi-blinded, placebo-controlled trial in women aged over 60 years old (the mean age being 67 years) and the supplementation was administered for 24 weeks and exercise for the latter 12 weeks.

The study was led by Dr Simon Dyall, Senior Lecturer and Programme Convener for the MSc in Clinical Neuroscience at the University of Roehampton.

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“We know that low physical activity can be an issue for older people,” said Dr Dyall.

He continued: “This preliminary research offers the intriguing possibility that supplementation may be able to mitigate some of the effects of low physical activity on decline in cognitive function in the elderly”.

Best supplements for the brain: Omega 3 may improve verbal memory and executive function

Best supplements: Omega 3s are powerful supplements to improve the brain health (Image: Getty Images)

The supplement was scientifically formulated with Omega 3 fatty acids including Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) combined with Gingko Biloba, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 and Phosphatidylserine.

Ageing is associated with a progressive decline in both cognitive and physical function and previous research by Dr Simon Dyall suggests that supplementation improves cognition and mobility in older women

The study was funded by Efamol, the essential fatty acid experts, Bournemouth University and the Sylvia Waddilove Trust.

DHA plays a vital role in maintaining the structure and function of your brain. In fact, it accounts for around 25 percent of the total fat, and 90 percent of the omega-3 fat, found in your brain cells.

The other omega-3 fatty acid in fish oil, EPA, has anti-inflammatory effects that may protect the brain against damage and aging.

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Taking DHA supplements has been linked with improved thinking skills, memory and reaction times in healthy people who have low DHA intakes.

It has also benefitted people experiencing a mild decline in brain function.

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