There is some intriguing new data about school going children. Recently, researchers at Purdue University measured the essential fatty acid levels of 100 boys aged between six and twelve. They found that kids with the highest levels of Omega-3 fatty acids have least learning problem. (Stevens, L.J., Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Boys with behaviour and health problems. Physiology And Behaviour, 1996: (4/5):915-20).
Supplementing Omega-3 fish oils might enhance mental abilities of adults. A certain type of brain wave called “p300” is linked with learning and memory capability. The faster the rate of transmission, the more efficient the brain functions. The mental capability rate declines with age and is even more noticeable in those affected by dementia.
This theory was tested on twenty-six normal healthy adult volunteers. They were hooked up to electrodes and were given tests that determined their “p300” rates. Immediately after this, they were given supplements of DHA. Two hours later, their brain waves were measured again. This time, the rates were significantly faster in those given DHA. The researchers concluded that “DHA therefore, appears to be an effective drug that could improve mental function in healthy persons.” (Myanaga, K., K. Yonemura, and K. Yazawa. DHA shortens p300 latency in healthy persons. Presented in International Conference On Highly Unsaturated Fatty Acids In Nutrition and Disease Prevention. 1996 Barcelona, Spain).
In studies with infants, it was found that new-borns supplemented with DHA exhibit improved brain development, which allows them to process information faster (J Nutr 2000; 130:1629-32).