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Omega-3s May Improve Cognitive Function of Malnourished Children

Malnourishment - especially in children - is linked with impaired mental functioning. A recent study suggests that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids may improve a range of cognitive measures in malnourished children.

Participants in the study included 50 malnourished 8 to 12 year old children who took either an omega-3 supplement containing 180 mg of DHA and 270 mg of EPA omega-3s or a placebo daily for three months. Neuropsychological performance was measured at the beginning of the study and after 3 months of supplmentation.

At the conclusion of the study, more than 50% of the omega-3 group showed improvement in 11 of the 18 neuropsychological variables studied. The researchers noted that coordination, processing speed, attention, perceptual integration, and executive function were improved in more than 70% of the omega-3 group.

Although the study participants were Mexican children, the researchers pointed out that the results have implications for the US as well. 14.% of households in the US were designated "food insecure" at some point in 2012 and 5.7% were "very food insecure" according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Researchers from the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, the University of Granada in Spain and the University of North Carolina conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on February 6, 2014, in Research in Developmental Disabilities.

Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including alleviating arthritis pain, better moods, improved joint mobility, helping with age related macular degeneration, and aiding your immune system.

Because omega-3 fatty-acids are not found naturally in the human body, it is especially important to make sure that they are a part of your daily diet. Oily, dark fish such as tuna and salmon are high in omega-3s.

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