Studies showed that greater intake of fish oil rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are linked to better early brain development and lowered risk of cognitive disorders in late life.
The potential associations between omega-3 fatty acids in serum phospholipids and cognitive function in mid-life adults were assessed in a recent study involving 280 volunteers, aged 35 to 54 years, free of major neuropsychiatric disorders, and not taking fish oil supplements.
Higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in serum phospholipids was found to be associated with improved cognitive functioning, specifically, better performance on tests of nonverbal reasoning and mental flexibility, working memory, and vocabulary. Neither EPA nor ALA was notably related to any of these tests of cognitive performance.
The authors conclude, "These findings suggest that DHA is related to brain health throughout the lifespan and may have implications for clinical trials of neuropsychiatric disorders."