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Omega-3 and its domain-specific effects on cognitive test performance in youths: a meta-analysis


Emery, Sophie; Häberling, Isabelle; Berger, Gregor; Walitza, Susanne; Schmeck, Klaus; Albert, Therese; Baumgartner, Noemi; Strumberger, Michael; Albermann, Mona; Drechsler, Renate (2020). Omega-3 and its domain-specific effects on cognitive test performance in youths: a meta-analysis. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 112:420-436.

Abstract

Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for brain development. The aim of this meta-analysis was to broaden current knowledge of the effects of omega-3 supplementation on cognitive test performance in youths. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) meeting selection criteria were identified through two independent literature searches on PubMed, Cochrane Library, PsycARTICLES and PsycINFO (last search June 2019). Twenty-nine out of 1126 studies assessing 4247 participants met all selection criteria. A meta-analysis using random-effects model was performed for eight different cognitive domains. This first analysis revealed no main effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on domain-specific cognitive test performance in youths. Subgroup analyses identified beneficial effects of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)-rich but not docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-rich formulations in the domains of long-term memory, working memory and problem solving and a tendency towards beneficial effects in clinical rather than non-clinical populations. Future research should investigate differential effects of EPA and DHA and consider their baseline levels, other nutritional components and interactions with gene variations as potential predictors of response.

Abstract

Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for brain development. The aim of this meta-analysis was to broaden current knowledge of the effects of omega-3 supplementation on cognitive test performance in youths. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) meeting selection criteria were identified through two independent literature searches on PubMed, Cochrane Library, PsycARTICLES and PsycINFO (last search June 2019). Twenty-nine out of 1126 studies assessing 4247 participants met all selection criteria. A meta-analysis using random-effects model was performed for eight different cognitive domains. This first analysis revealed no main effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on domain-specific cognitive test performance in youths. Subgroup analyses identified beneficial effects of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)-rich but not docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-rich formulations in the domains of long-term memory, working memory and problem solving and a tendency towards beneficial effects in clinical rather than non-clinical populations. Future research should investigate differential effects of EPA and DHA and consider their baseline levels, other nutritional components and interactions with gene variations as potential predictors of response.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
Life Sciences > Cognitive Neuroscience
Life Sciences > Behavioral Neuroscience
Uncontrolled Keywords:Adolescents, Children, Cognition, Cognitive development, DHA, EPA, Meta-analysis, Omega-3, PUFA, Standardized psychometric tests
Language:English
Date:15 February 2020
Deposited On:23 Mar 2020 16:24
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 14:56
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0149-7634
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2020.02.016
PubMed ID:32070694
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID33IC30_166826
  • : Project TitleOmega-3 fatty acids as first-line treatment in Paediatric Depression. A 36-week, multi-centre, double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized superiority Study.

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