If You're Sitting An Exam, Take Fish Oil
- 05-31-2006, 02:54 PM
If You're Sitting An Exam, Take Fish Oil
If You're Sitting An Exam, Take
Evening Standard - London
FROM GCSE to PhD, exam students across the land are swallowing fish-oil supplements in the hope that they will boost their grades. But do they really help?
In recent years there has been growing interest in the effects of supplementation on brain function, with a number of studies showing that the long-chain fatty acids (omega-3s) found in fish oils can influence both academic performance and behaviour.
Fish-oil supplements seem to boost reading and writing skills, improve behaviour (children given them tend to be less disruptive and find it easier to concentrate) and may even influence exam results, although this claim remains controversial.
Last year a landmark study on pupils at a secondary school in Lancashire suggested that supplements can improve grades. Children given fish oils in the three months leading up to their exams bettered their teachers' predictions by the equivalent of a grade across the board.
And the proportion of children achieving at least five C-grade GCSEs was up by nearly 50 per cent on the year before.
But comparing exam results with a previous year, or with the teachers' predictions, is an inexact science and it is impossible to attribute any differences solely to supplementation with omega-3. More research is needed and it is under way. In the meantime, what should students and parents be doing?
My gut reaction is to give extra omega-3 a try as there is little to lose.
There has been some concern recently about toxins such as mercury in the flesh of some types of oily fish, and higher-than-acceptable levels of environmental pollutants in some supplements, but stick to the latest recommendations and neither is likely to pose a significant risk.
The exam season is already under way but it is not too late to try to improve your results by following these simple steps.
. Eat more oily fish - preferably fresh tuna, salmon or mackerel ( the richest sources of omega- 3).
Because of concerns about contamination of mercury, men and boys should consume no more than four portions a week, while girls and young women should stick to two.
. If you don't like fish, then consider a daily supplement (ask your pharmacist), or consider one of the newer functional foods (such as milk) that are artificially fortified with omega-3.
. Don't stop at fish oils - there is also good evidence that a balanced diet rich in other essential components such as vitamins and minerals can influence brain function and behaviour too. Make sure you get your five fruit and veg a day.
- 05-31-2006, 02:59 PM
- 06-01-2006, 08:08 AM
Originally Posted by Brent
I've read about the cognitive effects of fish oil and have experimented with varying doses (very high doses too) but the effects seem negligible if the benefits even exist...though I wasn't really expecting outstanding mental performance increases.
06-01-2006, 09:14 AM
i think the omega3 fatty acids may help when you have a ****ty diet, because it is a first improvement.
when you already have a good diet, omega3 doesn't do very much for cognitivity in my opinion.
eating complex carbs helped me a lot with concentration, because i don't have a crash in blood level sugar half way through the exam like these jerks that drink sodas all the time.
otherwise, omega3 doesn't help either if you do not learn.
there's no way to get through an exam as to sit down and learn the stuff.
06-03-2006, 02:49 AM
06-03-2006, 02:53 AM
06-03-2006, 03:01 AM
I think they do make you smarter...As my undergrad went along my creative ways to never goto class, but still get an A increased linearly with my fish oil usage.
E-Pharm Nutrition Representative
06-03-2006, 03:19 AM
I studied more during finals week than I had 2 combined semesters. Pretty bad.(I don't think my sentence even makes sense.)Originally Posted by Iron Warrior
06-03-2006, 07:37 AM
06-03-2006, 10:47 AM
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