Omega-3s keep young adults at the front of the pack

Omega-3s keep young adults at the front of the pack

College students have naturally strong cognitive skills, but an omega-3 supplement can help them perform to the best of their abilities. New research has found that fish oil supplements can improve memory and reduce anxiety in young adults.

The effect of omega-3s on older patients has been widely studied, but few scientists have tested how younger generations could benefit from a similar nutrition boost. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh examined how a daily supplement of polyunsaturated fats affected adults between the ages of 18 and 24. The results, published in PLOS One, showed that after 6 months of supplements, participants had better results on working memory assessments.

"Before seeing this data, I would have said it was impossible to move young healthy individuals above their cognitive best," said Bita Moghaddam, Ph.D., who worked on the project. "We found that members of this population can enhance their working memory performance even further, despite their already being at the top of their cognitive game."

In addition to boosting cognitive function, young adults who take omega-3 supplements also experience less anxiety. A study at Ohio State University involved 68 medical students in the midst of exams.

The results, published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, showed a 20 percent reduction of anxiety in students taking fish oil supplements compared to those in the placebo group.

"These students weren't anxious. They weren't really stressed. They were actually sleeping well throughout this period, so we didn't get the stress effect we had expected," said Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and psychiatry.

These studies are the first of their kind and show that seniors aren't the only ones who benefit from a higher omega-3 intake. If you aren't getting enough fatty acid in your diet, consider taking a daily fish oil supplement like Omax3 to increase your brain function and stay ahead of the pack.