Older people with memory problems can boost their brainpower with fish oil supplements, say researchers.
Healthy people with mild memory deficits of events in their past life, so-called episodic memory, had improved recall after six months of treatment.
A new overview says the omega-3 fatty acid DHA has most benefit for people with existing memory problems, particularly when they are coping with physical or mental stress.
Experts believe supplements rich in DHA from fish oils or other marine sources might slow or prevent mental decline as it is found in reduced amounts in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
But here have been conflicting results from studies, with some showing no benefit from supplements in dementia patients.
DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is thought to help nerve cells communicate with each other. The richest source of the nutrient is oily fish, such as herring, mackerel and sardines.
Britons are currently advised to eat at least one portion of oily fish a week but figures show just one in three do so.
In an overview of evidence, scientists from the US and Canada said several studies had looked at DHA supplements and their effect on memory.