Study uncovers interplay between omega 3, sleep and cognition in kids

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05 Apr 2018 --- Frequent fish consumption may aid better quality sleep and cognitive functioning in children, a Chinese study has found. The study, published in Nature, claims to be the first study to delineate the mediating pathways between greater fish consumption and improved cognition amongst children.

Significantly, omega three fatty acids are said to play critical roles in cognitive performance. Studies have demonstrated positive findings on this topic at a range of life-stages. Firstly, in the first year of life as a result of the mother taking omega during pregnancy, also during adolescence and lastly, as aiding a reduction in cognitive decline and dementia in older age peoples

This longitudinal study sought to assess three central relationships: Firstly, whether more frequent fish consumption was associated with better quality sleep and high IQ scores in children. Secondly, whether or not such relationships were in fact documented for by social or economic factors and thirdly, if sleep quality mediated the fish-IQ relationship.

In the words of the TapIntegrative, the study’s findings were dose responsive: “When compared with no fish consumption, fish consumption 2 times per month or more was significantly associated with high verbal, performance and full scale IQ. These associations held true after adjusting for 13 sociodemographic covariates. There was a dose-response relationship between fish consumption frequency and IQ scores, such that those who ate fish weekly scored 4.80 points higher on full-scale IQ, and those who ate fish at least twice a month scored 3.31 points higher, than those who seldom or never ate fish.”

The study describes the “robust” findings as demonstrating that of the 541 Chinese schoolchildren participating, frequent fish consumption was related to both fewer sleep problems and higher IQ scores and that sleep partially mediated the relationship between fish consumption at age 9–11 years and cognitive ability as measured by IQ at age 12 years. 

The study claims to have essential findings for public health efforts regarding the dietary habits of children and adolescents, and standouts as a study not limited to a Western population. It calls for further research to explore the mechanisms through which intake of omega three fatty acids may contribute to improving neurodevelopment and cognitive function. 

NutritionInsight has reported widely on the health benefits of the omegas, and correlating studies. Fish oils are well known to contain high levels of omega fatty acids, whose health benefits can be far-reaching. From cardiovascular health, to healthy aging and during pregnancy

The market for supplying omega rich supplements is vast, and NPD innovations span from flavor disguise techniques to dosage forms that appeal particularly to children and even food-chain omega supplementation. NutritionInisght has previously conducted an in-depth report into these trends, with a particular insight into omega three's postitive cardiovascular health benefits.

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