COLUMBIA, Md., July 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Higher blood levels of long-chain omega-3s, and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in particular, were associated with better reading and working memory performance, according to a new observational study conducted at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Lead researchers indicated that an increased dietary intake of omega-3s may be beneficial for healthy children aged 7 to 9 years who are underperforming in school.
The paper titled, "Low blood long chain omega-3 fatty acids in UK children are associated with poor cognitive performance and behavior: A large cross-sectional analysis from the DOLAB study," was recently published in the peer-reviewed PLOS ONE journal. The observational analysis was an independent study initiated at the University of Oxford and funded by a grant from DSM Nutritional Products.
Cross-sectional observational study
Researchers set out to explore the association between blood omega-3 levels and children's reading, working memory and behavior. The study's population included 493 healthy children aged 7 to 9 years recruited from mainstream state schools in Oxfordshire, U.K. underperforming in literacy skills, but with other abilities within the normal range.
Findings at a glance:
Reading was accessed using the Word Reading Achievement sub-test of the British Ability Scales (BAS II). The Recall of Digits Forward and Recall of Digits Backward subtests from BAS II were utilized as measures for working memory. To measure behavior, ADHD-type symptoms were evaluated by both parents and teachers using the Conners' Rating Scales (CPRS-L and CTRS-L).
DOLAB intervention trial
The observational study was carried out as part of the DHA Oxford Learning and Behavior (DOLAB) randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial, which found increased dietary intake of algal DHA in school-aged children with low reading levels demonstrated significant improvements in reading performance and behavior. Following the positive results found in the subgroup populations, a follow-on study is currently underway at the University of Oxford to explore a larger sample size of children who are underperforming (<20th percentile) in reading performance.
The importance of DHA throughout life
DHA is a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid found throughout the body. It is a major structural fat in the brain, accounting for up to 97 percent of the omega-3 fats in the brain. Numerous studies confirm that everyone, from infants to adults, benefits from an adequate supply of DHA. Throughout every stage of life, DHA is proven to be important for brain health.
For children who do not eat fish at least two times a week, parents can find supplements and fortified foods and beverage made with a non-fish source of DHA. life'sDHA™, the source of DHA used in the DOLAB intervention, is a vegetarian and sustainable source of DHA. It can be found in hundreds of supplements and fortified foods and beverages. Additional information about life'sDHA is available at www.lifesdha.com.
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|SOURCE DSM Nutritional Products|
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