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2014-03-07

EPA Better than DHA for Cognitive Function

 I'm a few weeks late on this one, but it's a nice study to cover anyway. This study found that omega-3 supplements particularly high in EPA may improve cognitive performance with a reduction in neural activity observed (indicating that the brain didn't have to work as hard).

On the other hand, DHA-rich supplements were associated with an increase in functional activation and no improvement in cognitive performance

This was just a small study with 13 people (average age of 24) in a double-blind, counterbalanced, crossover study, which used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to map functional brain activation. Volunteers were randomly assigned to 30 days of supplementation with either an EPA-rich formulation or a DHA-rich formulation. After a washout period, they were crossed over to the other intervention group.

The EPA-rich supplements were associated with reductions in functional activation in the left anterior cingulate cortex (said to be involved in rational cognitive functions, including decision-making, reward anticipation, and impulse control), increases in activation in the right precentral gyrus (responsible for implementing corrective strategies) in the brain, and reductions in reaction times. On the other hand, increases in the right precentral gyrus were observed following DHA-rich supplementation, but there were no changes in behavioural performance recorded.

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Source: Omega-3 supplementation improves cognition and modifies brain activation in young adults

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