Early dietary intake of omega 3 highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA's), of particular note, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, has been linked to subsequent improvements in an infants visual acuity at 12 months, problem solving ability in infancy, and alterations in cortical attention networks (that is, enhances activity of attention) in school children.
The effects of DHA supplementation on attention networks in the brain have been elucidated in recent years, with promising results. For example, 38 healthy boys (aged 8-10 years) were randomly allocated to receive administration of 1200 mg of DHA or placebo. Note well, this is not 1200 mg of standard omega 3, rather 1200 mg of DHA specifically. In making an assessment, researchers recorded cortical brain activity (associated with higher order function e.g. language, memory, attention, focus) at baseline and after 8 weeks of DHA supplementation. Results of the study showed the DHA erythrocyte (red cell) membrane composition increased by 70 percent at 8 weeks compared to placebo. Findings also indicated that the DHA group showed increased activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (primary role in executive function e.g. working memory and planning), and greater reductions in activation of the occipital and cerebral cortex (in short, meaning that the DHA group found it easier to concentrate) during sustained attention tasks when compared to controls (placebo group).
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