Teenagers today are processing more information than any other generation in history. Thanks to the internet, cell phones, and televisions that never turn off, we as a culture are taking in five times as much information daily as we did 30 years ago.[i] All that data can cause information overload for the teen brain, which is still developing.
Restricting your teen’s access to endless information is a good idea, but so is making sure she’s getting enough omega-3 fatty acids. According to a study published in the journal Nutrients, teenagers who have higher blood levels of omega-3s process information quicker.[ii]
Researchers compared 266 Dutch teens’ omega-3 index (which quantifies a person’s fatty acid status) with their performance on the Letter Digit Substitution Test (which measures information processing speed by asking test takers to match digits with letters as quickly as possible). For every 1 percent increase in omega-3 index, there was a 1.23 digit increase on the LDST.
But that’s not all. Students who had a higher omega-3 index also made fewer errors of omission on a test of attention. In other words, they paid better attention than those who had a lower omega-3 index.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that, across the board, teens’ omega-3 indexes were too low. The average omega-3 index was 3.83% — just a fraction of the recommended 8-11 percent.
This isn’t surprising, since the vast majority of the teens reported they ate fish rarely or never. It’s also not unique to Holland (where the study took place); nearly 96 percent of Americans have an omega-3 index below 5 percent.
You’ve got choices when it comes to beefing up your teen’s omega-3 index, and eating fish is only one of them. Fish oil and flax oil supplements provide a concentrated, pure source of omega-3s — making getting enough a no-brainer.
* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease.
[i] Alleyne R. Welcome to the information age — 174 newspapers a day. The Telegraph. Feb. 2011. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/8316534/Welcome-to-the-information-age-174-newspapers-a-day.html
[ii] van der Wurff ISM, et al. Association between blood omega-3 index and cognition in typically developing Dutch adolescents. Nutrients. 2016 Jan 2;8(1).