Journal article
The association between dietary intake of omega-3 and cognitive abilities among Saudi female university students


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Author list: Nihal Saleh Al-Anazi, Razan Tariq Aqeel, Fatimah Hussain Al-Shawaker, Zainab Ali Al-Dahneem, Reham Shawky Metwally, Ahmed Amr Abdalla, Omar Ibrahim Abuzaid, Tunny Sebastian
Publication year: 2021
Volume number: 6
Issue number: 3
Start page: 148
End page: 153
Number of pages: 6
ISSN: 2455-4898
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Background: Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) are dietary factors that have received significant research attention in relation to their beneficial effects on cognitive decline. The main n-3 PUFAs used in the body are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and are mostly obtained from oily fish or dietary supplementation. DHA and EPA can also be synthesized from α-linolenic acid (ALA) obtained from plant oils. The main aim of this study was to establish a relationship between n-3 PUFAs consumption and cognitive abilities. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted using a sample of 100. The participants were selected using convenience sampling. A well-organized and valid questionnaire was administered, which covered variables related to socioeconomic status, health history, lifestyle, anthropometric measurement and food consumption. Omega-3 fatty acids were estimated by using food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) then analyzed by ESHA software. Cognitive abilities tests; digit span subscale (Forward & Backward) and digit cancellation scale for assessing visual attention were applied. The collected data were analyzed using IBM SPSS Statistics version 25. Descriptive statistics, Chi-Square test and Pearson correlation coefficient were used in the analysis. Results: The median score of speed of attention (minutes) among the three levels of DHA/EPA dietary intake (< 0.25, 0.25-0.5 and > 0.5 gm) were 213, 209 and 192 respectively (P= 0.046). Furthermore, the significant positive association was found between white fish and cashew with speed of attention (p = 0.031 and 0.015 respectively); nut with accuracy of attention (p =0.009); almond with working memory (p = 0.021); and olive oil with memory direct (p = 0.025).  Conclusion: The present study provides further experimental evidence that n-3 PUFAs exert positive effects on cognitive abilities in healthy late adolescents. Therefore, improvement of dietary intake of n-3 PUFAs may lead to improvement in mental and cognitive abilities.


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Last updated on 2021-04-10 at 14:36

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