A new study has found that omega 3 fish oil supplements did not slow down cognitive decline in any of the 4.000 subjects.
The National Institutes of Health conducted one of the longest and largest studies to ever investigate the matter and concluded that consumers who take omega 3 pills might as well stop as they do not slow down cognitive decline.
Emily Chew, deputy clinical director from the National Institutes of Health’s National Eye Institute, gave a statement saying that “The supplements just don’t cut it. If people are thinking [that taking them] is going to help cognitive function, it’s not going to do so among the older age group”.
But here’s the thing. It turns out that only omega 3 fish oil pills fail to slow down cognitive decline, however foods that are naturally rich in omega 3 fatty acids have been proven to have real health benefits.
Chew added that eating such foods (walnuts, salmon, and flaxseed, to name a few) benefits not only the brain, but the heart too.
She and her colleagues reached these conclusions after recruiting and studying subjects who were in danger of developing macular degeneration due to old age. This is also one of the main factors that cause vision loss in senior Americans.
They split the subjects into four (4) groups, and tested their immediate recall, memory and attention, once at the start of the study, and a second time two (2) years later, and a third time four (4) years later.
When the study first began, the researcher team was interested in investigating the potential cognitive benefits of omega 3 fish oil supplements, but after reviewing the test results, they realized that these pills have “no statistically significant effect on cognitive function”.
Chew and her colleagues did admit, however, that their study had a few limitations. They only looked at the effects that the pills have, and did not also test and compare the effects that foods naturally rich in omega 3 fatty acids had.
On top of this, they also only looked at a single age group – old individuals with the age of 73, on average. Chew made it clear that it is unknown whether or not omega 3 fish oil pills may benefit individuals in a younger age group.
Omega 3 fish oil pills are some of the most popular food supplements in the United States. They are available without a prescription, branded as a product that enhances brain health, and widely accepted as one that does just that.
The findings were published earlier this month, in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
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