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November 06, 2012


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This is an interesting study. I too would have never imagined that Omega 3 Fatty Acids would have impact also on psychological functions. I agree with NS that learning about information about enhancing memory is quite wonderful news. I would also like to see more research done with this on possible a different population of patients and see what the outcome looks like.

Some other alternative therapies that can help improve memory are gingko, ginseng, acupuncture and art therapy. Art therapy may possibly help with Alzheimer's disease and has an evidence grade of C. Art therapy uses drawing, painting and sculpting to stimulate neurological pathways in the brain. The therapy helps to relieve negative emotions and problematic behaviors. But, more research is needed before recommendation can be made.

Another possible beneficial use of omega-3 fatty acids added to the already numerous indications being investigated. This would be something great to follow for many young adults. I myself sometimes find myself complaining about occasional lapses in memory. It will be good to see if further research will prove this.

In response to Hs's response. If you search the web and PubMed for the term fish oil and manic depression, you will encounter many studies that were done in this area in which they compared fish oil effect to lithium!

In response to JH's comment, do you know the source of the information on the comparison of fish oils to lithium? I would be interested in reading more about this relationship. Lithium is a very strong medication, and I have heard nothing about fish oils having similar effects - it seems like a stretch to me to assume that they are similar to each other. I wonder about the studies performed to find this relationship and their validity. However, if the studies prove it to be true, it would be an interesting alternative to psychotropic medication.

Recently, there has been a lot of controversy regarding omega-3's/fish oil supplements, and the possibility of it not benefiting heart health. That was very disheartening, but more studies are needed to confirm the findings anyway, and it is great that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation can have a benefit on the working memory. Not only should young adults be taking these supplements, but older adults should be encouraged to take the omega-3 supplements for mental acuity and maintenance of working memory.

This is a very interesting study. I would have never thought that something so well known for a completely different disease (hyperlipidemia) could be used for a psychological function. Ive always been fascinated with the use of ADHD medications in children and the harmful cardiovascular effects they could have long term. So to see a natural product improving cognition and memory is pretty outstanding. I hope to see more information on the potential mechanism and the effect on dopamine.

I'm glad that the study showed improvement when the subjects took omega-3 fatty acid supplements because I would love to benefit from this new research, however I really hate fish. When studies are performed and they use a food supplement instead of just a pill, it always makes me wonder if there is something in the way the substance is formed within the food that may actually be making it better. However, because it was just the supplements here, it can take the pills if I haven't had any fish or nuts that day. Especially when you are studying, you need to improve your memory, but sometimes you end up eating unhealthy comfort food to combat pre-test stress.

As a pharmacy student, reading any information about enhancing memory function is music to my ears. It seems as if there are multiple studies that have repeated these results. Fish oils already have many beneficial effects and, hopefully, an additional indication would encourage more people to use them. As with most supplements, I would like to see more research performed in this area. But if I was looking for a harmless way to try and boost my memory, I might give fish oil a try.

I have also read in several psychiatric journals that fish oil has kind of similar effect on manic depressive patient as lithium. They suggested to give about 6-10 grams a day in order to be equivalent to lithium.

Yet another wonderful benefit of omega 3 supplementation! Most studies I have seen do not look at supplementation in such a young age group, as they are more focused on preventing cardiac risk in older adults. It is great to see there are benefits for young adults as well as older patients. It is interesting that despite all of the studies done with omega 3 fatty acids, the mechanism of action is still in question. Although we still do not know how it works, it seems to be a beneficial supplement for almost any age group.

I think it would be interesting to know if the same effects occur in people in other age groups, such as people ages 25-40 or 40-60. There are an increasing number of people who have already graduated college or high school and are in their 30's or 40's and are going back to school to further their education. I've heard that it's harder for people in these age groups to learn new things, so it would be very interesting to see if omega-3 fatty acids are a supplement that could benefit these individuals as well.

Research shows that working memory declines with age, so I think more research in the elderly is warranted. Also, something to note is that only 11 subjects were included in the study, which is a very small sample size. We know omega-3s have a lot of other benefits (e.g., treating hyperlipidemia, rheumatoid arthritis, secondary cardiovascular disease prevention), but further research is still needed on this topic, preferably in a larger population.

This is a very interesting find. I noticed that high doses of omega-3 fatty acids were used… I wonder if using taking a lower dose of about 1g (like most people would take for cardioprotective effects) would have similar effects. I notice they studied subjects that were likely of college age, which is appropriate seeing how when you are learning in college, you are using a great deal of working memory (e.g., reasoning, comprehension). It would be interesting to see if this therapy might be a viable option for people with ADHD to help improve their working memory.

Omega-3 fatty acids already have so many health benefits (as the article says), like lowering triglycerides, reducing stroke risk, and slowing the formation of atherosclerosis, and now it seems there is one more! So, despite this other recent study (http://blog.naturalstandard.com/natural_standard_blog/2012/09/omega-3-fatty-acids-may-not-reduce-heart-disease-risk.html), it seems there are still many reasons to take fish oil supplements or increase the amount of fish in one’s diet. I do wonder why the study only enrolled young participants though, as I feel like the benefit (it is exists) would be more pronounced across a wider age range. However, I find it very interesting that the authors hypothesized the mechanism of enhanced memory to increased dopamine storage and release, even though that did not pan out in the study. I have never heard of fish oil affecting dopamine, but apparently it might. This is very interesting research, and with all the health benefits of fish oil, I think it would overall be a safe choice for someone who wants to improve their memory (provided of course that he or she has no bleeding conditions).

When I was younger, my dad always told me to eat fish because it would make me smarter. Parents always know what’s best. The mechanism of action does still need to confirmed to better advise people. But, there are a lot of other beneficial effects from Omega-3 Fatty Acids that can be useful for people. It will be interesting to see what else they can find about it.

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