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DHA makes women smarter, men faster

A new study suggests DHA improves the brain function of young adults who previously lacked enough of the acid in their diet. Previous research of this type was done on older adults.

Women get smarter and men get faster after DHA supplementation, suggest a new study. The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, investigated the effect of DHA on the cognitive abilities of young men and women.

DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, is an omega-3 fatty acid found in cold water fatty fish, like salmon. Led by Welma Stonehouse of New Zealand's Massey University, researchers gave a group of people between the ages of 18 and 45, whose diets were generally deficient in DHA, 1.16 grams of the stuff every day for six months and tested their cognitive abilities on a computer. Women had greater improvements in episodic memory than men, while men increased their reaction time to a greater degree than women.(Researchers probably utilized a computer game other than "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3," which skews way higher among men, according to the New York Times.)

The study, entitled “DHA supplementation improved both memory and reaction time in healthy young adults: a randomized controlled trial,” was a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind intervention. “

"This study showed, for the first time to our knowledge, that DHA supplementation improved memory and RTs of memory in healthy young adults whose habitual diets was low in DHA,” wrote the researchers. “These memory-related cognitive domains are the building blocks of more complex cognitive functions of behaviors that are common in everyday life. Thus young, healthy adults may cognitively benefit from an increased consumptions of DHA.”

People around the world are excited about the potential of DHA for brain health. They are also thrilled that scientists consider 45 “young.”

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