Trial shows DHA supplementation improves memory and cognition

The findings of a new clinical trial show that fish oil supplementation improves memory in healthy adults

The results of the study presented today (29th November 2011) at a conference in New Zealand  indicate supplementation with DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)  fish oil can provide significant benefits for improving memory and enhancing cognition in healthy adults with no pre-existing cognitive disorders

A number of memory measures improved as a result of the supplementation but key findings included a15% faster speed of working memory in men and a 7% improvement in the speed of episodic memory (delayed word recognition) in women.

The randomised, double-blind placebo controlled trial of 176 healthy adults, undertaken at Massey University in New Zealand over a six month period, gave non-smoking adults with habitually low intakes of fish and seafood either a supplement containing a concentrated DHA rich fish oil active ingredient or a placebo.

The trial, completed in real time, saw baseline scores for memory and cognitive function assessed using a computerised cognitive performance test battery. The results were then clustered into four cognitive domains – memory, working memory, speed of memory and attention.

After six months of treatment, memory, working memory and speed of working memory showed statistically significant improvements in women in the supplement group compared to the placebo. Speed of working memory also showed statistically significant improvements in men in the same group.

Lead investigator Professor Welma Stonehouse commented: “This is the first robust study to show that a DHA-rich supplement can improve some aspects of memory functioning in young healthy adults that normally follow an omega-3 deficient diet. These findings contribute to the growing body of research showing that omega-3s play a very important role in brain function throughout the life cycle, even in healthy cognitively intact individuals.”

• The supplement used in study was the Efalex Active 50+ from Efamol and priced at £9.45 (retail) for 30. For further information visit or call 0870 6060128