New study suggests omega-3 fatty acid enriched supplement produces similar effects on brain function to exercise

  • Tuesday, November 10, 2020

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

Image - New study suggests omega-3 fatty acid enriched supplement produces similar effects on brain function to exercise

The new 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.

The study identified similar significant improvements in two key measures of brain function, verbal memory and executive function:

  1. Verbal memory: how well you can recall information; how easily you can remember words on a list.
  2. Executive function: Is 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 the 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 who comments, “We know that low physical activity can be an issue for older people. 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”.

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®, Bournemouth University and the Sylvia Waddilove Trust.

You can view the full paper here