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Nutrients 2016, 8(2), 99; doi:10.3390/nu8020099

Docosahexaenoic Acid and Cognition throughout the Lifespan

1
DSM Nutritional Products, R&D Human Nutrition and Health, Boulder, CO, USA
2
DSM Nutritional Products, R&D Human Nutrition and Health, Basel, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 December 2015 / Revised: 26 January 2016 / Accepted: 28 January 2016 / Published: 17 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue DHA for Optimal Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [390 KB, uploaded 17 February 2016]

Abstract

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is the predominant omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) found in the brain and can affect neurological function by modulating signal transduction pathways, neurotransmission, neurogenesis, myelination, membrane receptor function, synaptic plasticity, neuroinflammation, membrane integrity and membrane organization. DHA is rapidly accumulated in the brain during gestation and early infancy, and the availability of DHA via transfer from maternal stores impacts the degree of DHA incorporation into neural tissues. The consumption of DHA leads to many positive physiological and behavioral effects, including those on cognition. Advanced cognitive function is uniquely human, and the optimal development and aging of cognitive abilities has profound impacts on quality of life, productivity, and advancement of society in general. However, the modern diet typically lacks appreciable amounts of DHA. Therefore, in modern populations, maintaining optimal levels of DHA in the brain throughout the lifespan likely requires obtaining preformed DHA via dietary or supplemental sources. In this review, we examine the role of DHA in optimal cognition during development, adulthood, and aging with a focus on human evidence and putative mechanisms of action. View Full-Text
Keywords: brain lipids; omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; nutrition; learning; memory; comprehension; development; aging; neurodegeneration brain lipids; omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; nutrition; learning; memory; comprehension; development; aging; neurodegeneration
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Weiser, M.J.; Butt, C.M.; Mohajeri, M.H. Docosahexaenoic Acid and Cognition throughout the Lifespan. Nutrients 2016, 8, 99.

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