Omega-3 Can Help Working Memory

Posted on Oct 31 2012 - 1:50pm by Jamie Hacking

University of Pittsburgh researchers, in the first study of its kind, found that the working memory of young, healthy adults between 18 and 25 years of age could be improved further through raising the intake of their Omega-3 through supplements.

The lead investigator of the study, Rajesh Narendarn is a professor of radiology at the University. He and his fellow researchers recruited healthy males and females from random ethnicities. Participants increased their Omega-3 intake for six months. At the end of each month, they were monitored via outpatient procedures and through phone conversations.

Before starting the increase in Omega-3, each participant received a positron emission tomography (PET) and had a sample of blood analyzed. After that, they took a test of their working memory. The test contained a series of numbers along with letters and both the men and women were asked to keep track of the sequence of up to three letters or numbers that appeared prior. This test is the “n-back test.”

After six months of a heightened intake of the Omega-3 supplement, all of the participants completed the same procedures, including the blood test and another n-back test. The results showed a significant increase in working memory for the participants.

One of the researchers said the new data showed that people could enhance their working memory even more, despite them already being at a high level of cognition.

The study’s results were very promising but the researchers were not able to determine why an increase in the amount of Omega-3 results in an increase in the working memory of healthy, young adults.