A new overview of recent Canadian and American research on the link between fish oil and memory pulls together recent studies and finds that evidence supports that older people with and without memory problems could all be helped by omega-3s. The review appeared in the journal Prostaglandims, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids (PLEFA) and was noted in the Daily Mail. The reviewers provide handy links to more than one hundred relevant studies.
The reviewers found that while omega-3s, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in particular, may be most beneficial to people who already have memory problems, convincing evidence exists that polyunsaturated fatty acids can help otherwise healthy people who struggle to remember events from their lives. One study suggested that the fish oil boosted recall after just sixth months of taking the supplement.
A study that focused on 485 elderly people with memory problems found “significant improvement” in memory test scores of subjects who took marine oil supplements for 24 weeks compared to scores of people who had taken a placebo.
In their conclusion, the reviewers note the potential of DHA when used early to treat age-related cognitive decline as well as Alzheimer’s disease, especially because of the low safety risk related to using the compound.
Of course, research is beginning to support fish oil for improved brain function in people who aren’t old enough to experience the befuddlement of forgetting why they've walked into a room. One study found “significant” improvement in the working memory of millennials who had taken daily omega-3s for six months.