A study to determine whether taking omega-3 supplements will improve adults' brain performance is about to start.
Researchers from the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health and the School of Psychology at Albany campus are seeking 200 healthy men and women aged from 18-40 to participate in the study.
Project leader Associate Professor Welma Stonehouse, a nutrition researcher, says omega-3 fatty acids play essential roles in the structure and function of human brains. "Our bodies can’t make these fatty acids very efficiently and therefore we need to consume them as part of our diet," Dr Stonehouse says. "However, most New Zealanders consume low levels of these fatty acids, which could compromise their brain’s ability to perform at its peak."
Research to date has focused on the role of omega-3 in brain development and cognitive function in infants, children with learning disorders and older adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
"Very little is known about its effects in healthy adults. This research is leading the way in this regard," says Dr Stonehouse, who is the author of several published studies on omega-3's nutritional benefits.
Others involved in the project are Dr Cath Conlon from the institute and psychologists Professor John Podd and Dr Stephen Hill.
Research participants will have to take a fish oil supplement or placebo for six months and will be required to visit the campus twice for a blood sample to be taken and to do an online cognitive test. They must be non-smokers and not be pregnant or breastfeeding and not already taking fish oil supplements or eating fatty fish more than twice a month.
More information is available from the researchers by email email@example.com