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Serum Phospholipid Docosahexaenonic Acid [DHA] is Associated with Cognitive Functioning during Middle Adulthood – Source: Journal of Nutrition, Feb 24, 2010

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By MF Muldoon, et al • www.ProHealth.com • March 8, 2010


[Note: DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is plentiful in fish oil. It is a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid or "PUFA."]

Existing evidence links greater dietary intake of fish and (omega-3) PUFA [polyunsaturated fatty acid] to better early brain development and lowered risk of cognitive disorders in late life. The mechanisms for these associations remain unclear and may be related to specific (omega-3) fatty acids and may concern cognitive function generally rather than only early brain development and age-related cognitive dysfunction.

In this investigation, we tested potential associations between (omega-3) fatty acids in serum phospholipids and major dimensions of cognitive functioning in mid-life adults.

Participants were 280 community volunteers between 35 and 54 years of age, free of major neuropsychiatric disorders, and not taking fish oil supplements.

Dietary biomarkers were alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenonic acid (DHA) in serum phospholipids measured using GC.

Five major dimensions of cognitive functioning were assessed with a 75-min battery of neuropsychological tests. In covariate adjusted regression models, higher DHA (mol %) was related to better performance on tests of nonverbal reasoning and mental flexibility, working memory, and vocabulary (P
Associations between DHA and nonverbal reasoning and working memory persisted with additional adjustment for participant education and vocabulary scores (P
Neither EPA nor ALA was notably related to any of the 5 tested dimensions of cognitive performance. Among the 3 key (omega-3) PUFA, only DHA is associated with major aspects of cognitive performance in nonpatient adults younger than 55 y old.

These findings suggest that DHA is related to brain health throughout the lifespan and may have implications for clinical trials of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Source: Journal of Nutrition, Feb 24, 2010. PMID: 20181791, Muldoon MF, Ryan CM, Sheu L, Yao JK, Conklin SM, Manuck SB. Center for Clinical Pharmacology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.





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