Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Study Questions Fish Oil Brain Claims

Higher levels of omega-3 didn't boost thinking, memory test scores


Overall, the researchers found no changes in mental function based on the levels of omega-3s in the blood.

There were two tests -- fine motor speed and verbal fluency -- that showed a slightly significant difference between high levels of omega-3s and low levels of omega-3s, according to the study.

"There were two marginally significant findings between high and low omega-3s, and to some extent those findings align with other studies, but we did look at about 14 different outcomes, so by chance, we would expect to find some on the cusp of statistical significance," explained Ammann.

Ammann said the researchers don't recommend changing your diet based on their findings. "This was a select group of women who were older and healthy at baseline. It's one piece of evidence on the effect of omega-3s and cognitive function," he said. "Our results are looking at the short-term effect of omega-3s. We don't know for someone [who has higher levels] for a longer time, if that would have a more gradual, cumulative effect over time."

Nutritionist Samantha Heller from the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn., said, "While this study found no difference between high and low [blood] serum levels of omega-3 fatty acids in memory tests, the researchers did not examine the levels of omega-3 fatty acids and the incidence of dementia in that cohort over time."

Other studies have suggested that omega-3s have numerous benefits, according to Heller. "Evidence suggests that omega-3 fatty acids have many positive health effects including lowering triglycerides [a type of blood fat], reducing the risk of some cancers, affecting mental health, fetal brain and eye development, lowering inflammation and more," she said.

The best way to get omega-3s, she said, is through a healthy diet, rather than through supplements.

"Diets that are replete with whole, healthy foods and very limited in processed, junk and fast food, help provide the body with all the nutrients, including healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, it needs," Heller said. "Eating vegetables, whole grains, fruits, legumes, nuts and oils like olive oil, and exercising appears to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementias, as well as many chronic diseases."

1 | 2

Vitamins and
Lifestyle Guide

Which Nutrients
Are You Missing?

Learn More

Today on WebMD

vitamin rich groceries
Do you know your vitamin ABCs?
St Johns wart
Ease hot flashes and other symptoms.
Are you getting enough?
Take your medication
Wonder pill or overkill?
fruits and vegetables
Woman sleeping
Woman staring into space with coffee

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.