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Studies Reveal New Benefits Associated with Omega-3s

It has been well established that omega-3 essential fatty acids provide numerous health benefits, most notably with regard to heart health. Now, two recent studies may add new benefits to the list.

The first of the two studies found that omega 3s may boost cognitive function among boys. The study was conducted by scientists from the University of Cincinnati and published in the February 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study included 33 healthy boys between 8 and 10 years of age. The boys were randomly assigned to receive 400 mg or 1200 mg per day of DHA or a placebo for eight weeks.

The researchers measured brain activity using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and found that DHA levels in the membrane of red blood cells increased by 47% in the low dose group and 70% in the high dose group. The placebo group experienced an 11% drop in DHA levels.

The MRI also showed increased activation in parts of the brain responsible for memory, motor control and visual processing. The researchers attribute the increased activation to the increased levels of DHA present, and note that DHA supplementation may be useful in treating ADHD and major depression.

The second study was conducted by scientists with the Dutch Ministry of Justice and it found that supplements of omega-3 essential fatty acids may actually make prisoners less aggressive.

The study, which was published in the journal Aggressive Behavior, included 200 young adult offenders in the Netherlands.

The researchers found a 34% reduction in violent behaviors when the participants were given omega-3 essential fatty acid supplements. The researchers say their findings verify the connection between diet and mental health, and further studies have already been initiated to substantiate these findings.

These two studies add some new science to back the already impressive list of omega-3 health benefits, including improvements in heart health, reductions in some cancer and reductions in the risk of developing age related macular degeneration.

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