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Vitamins and Omega 3 'boost cognitive performance'

Published on 04 January 2012 12:00 PM

Key vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids boost a person's cognitive performance, new research has indicated.

Scientists at Portland's Oregon Health and Science University, who published their findings in the Neurology journal, assessed the blood of 104 healthy people who were 87 years old on average.

The participants did not show signs of many known Alzheimer's risk factors.

Depending on the nutrients contained in their blood, they were placed into one of eight groups, with the test performance of each group then reviewed.

The researchers found that people whose blood contained more vitamin B, C, D and E were the best performers in cognitive tests, and those with higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids also performed well. Vitamins B, C and E are mainly found in fruits and vegetables, while vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids are mainly contained in fish.

Conversely, people whose blood had higher levels of trans fats - found mainly in cakes and fried foods - had the worst cognitive scores.

The researchers also analysed MRI scans from 42 of the participants, and found that those whose blood had higher levels of vitamins and omega 3 were also more likely to have bigger total brain volume. In comparison, those with more trans fats in their blood had less brain volume.

Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer's Research UK, commented: ‘One strength of this research is that it looked at nutrients in people's blood, rather than relying on answers to a questionnaire. It's important to note that this study looked at a small group of people with few risk factors for Alzheimer's disease, and did not investigate whether they went on to develop Alzheimer's at a later stage.

He continued: ‘There is a clear need for conclusive evidence about the effect of diet on our risk of Alzheimer's, which can only come from large-scale, long-term studies.

Copyright Press Association 2012

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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