Taking fish oil supplements can reduce memory loss in old age suggests an American bioscience company Martek.
Dr. Karin Yurko-Mauro, a researcher associated with the company, has revealed that taking a supplement of omega 3 for six months had a beneficial effect on people with age-related forgetfulness and loss of learning ability during the study.
The research team tested the affect of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the most commonly found in fish oil, on 485 healthy people with an average age of 70, and found that memory and general brain function increased significantly.
According to the study report, taking 900mg capsules every day was found to be the equivalent of turning back the clock three years.
The researchers hope that future studies will provide promising results suggesting that the fatty acid may help stave off Alzheimer's disease, if new techniques can be found to diagnose it before it take holds.
Dr. Yurko-Mauro said that the participants who took the supplements had "almost double the reduction in errors on a test that measures learning and memory performance."
"The benefit is roughly equivalent to having the learning and memory skills of someone three years younger," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
Dr. William Thies, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer at the Alzheimer's Association, feels that it is "too early" to make a recommendation about use of DHA supplements to prevent loss of mental function.
"In high doses, DHA does have side effects, so you would want to see a benefit to justify the risk you are taking. We need more work for that," he said.
A presentation on the study was made at the international Alzheimer's Association meeting in Vienna, Austria.