DHA supplements may help boost memory, study finds

WASHINGTON According to a study published in the November edition of Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, taking docosahexaenoic acid may improve memory and learning in older adults with mild cognitive impairments. The study found that DHA taken for six months improved memory and learning in healthy, older adults with mild memory complaints.


“The results of this study are very encouraging for those consumers concerned about maintaining memory,” stated Duffy MacKay, VP scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition. “The more we learn about the valuable role DHA plays in supporting brain function, the more options aging Americans have toward managing cognitive decline.”



While this study focused on a population of healthy adults with age-associated memory impairment, a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, conducted in a population that previously had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, did not indicate DHA provided a statistically significant benefit to cognitive function. The lead author of the JAMA study also highlighted that the study's results may have been different had DHA been administered before the participants’ disease progressed.


“This study reinforces the principle that consumers will reap the most benefit from their DHA supplements — and many supplements — when they are taken over time and before a health concern is imminent,” MacKay said. “When included as a part of a proactive health regimen that includes a well-balanced diet, regular physical activity and routine visits with a healthcare professional, dietary supplements offer an important tool to help support many systems in the body, including memory and cognitive function.”

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