As we age, our cognitive abilities may start to decline, making it more challenging to complete daily tasks and remember important information. However, a clinical trial suggests that certain nutrients may help improve cognitive performance in older adults.
The study, which was conducted by a team of researchers, investigated the effects of omega-3 fatty acids, carotenoids, and vitamin E on the cognitive performance of healthy individuals aged 65 years and older.
For the trial, participants were randomly assigned to receive either a daily supplement of 1 gram of fish oil, 22 mg of carotenoids, and 15 mg of vitamin E, or a placebo for 24 months.
The study was double-blind, meaning that neither the participants nor the researchers knew which group each participant was in.
After 24 months, the researchers found that the group receiving the active supplement had significantly fewer errors in working memory tasks than the placebo group. Additionally, the active group outperformed the placebo group as the cognitive load of the tasks increased.
The study also found that the active group had higher levels of carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids in their blood than the placebo group. Interestingly, the magnitude of change in the levels of these nutrients in the blood was related to the magnitude of change in working memory performance.
These results suggest that increasing our intake of carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial in reducing cognitive decline and dementia risk in later life. The study's findings support the idea that these nutrients work together in a synergistic and dose-dependent manner to improve cognitive performance.
Carotenoids are found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel, as well as in nuts and seeds like chia seeds and flaxseeds. Vitamin E can be found in foods such as almonds, peanuts, and sunflower seeds.
The results of this clinical trial suggest that a combination of omega-3 fatty acids, carotenoids, and vitamin E may help improve memory performance in older adults. By increasing our intake of these nutrients through a balanced diet or supplements, we may be able to reduce our risk of cognitive decline and improve our overall brain health.