While a great deal of interest has been accorded to the cognitive effects of n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC PUFAs), there is a need for systematic review data that assess this outcome across the lifespan, accounting for population differences and highlighting methodological limitations of extant studies.
This systematic review addresses the effects of n-3s on human cognition and provides an overview on the current state of research and recommendations for future efforts.
Based on a thorough review of highly powered articles from PubMed (MEDLINE), Web of Science, and ProQuest Central, the authors evaluated articles published between 2000 and 2020 assessing LC PUFA status on cognition as a primary outcome measure.
Using the PRISMA guidelines, the researchers’ primary aim was to provide a comprehensive overview of the articles.
The results indicate inconsistent effects of intervention, with benefits for specific groups on specific outcomes.
Although results were rarely definitive across cognitive domains, and the majority of studies indicated the presence of a possible threshold effect in which LC PUFA needs were already being met, and supplementation did not have an additional effect, there is evidence for trends towards benefit in cognitive functions, in those experiencing early cognitive decline.