Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Ulster boffins to probe benefits of fish oil for the older population

People across the province between the ages of 55-80 needed for study

By Nigel Gould,

By Nigel Gould,

HEALTH CORRESPONDENT



ULSTER scientists are to probe the benefits of fish oil in the ageing process, it emerged today.

Omega-3, a fatty acid found mainly in sardines, salmon and mackerel, has already been branded brain power for children.

Researchers have also said it can help prevent heart disease and stroke.

Scientists from the Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health Research (NICHE) and the University of Ulster's School of Psychology, are to carry out a major study into the effects of Omega-3 on healthy ageing.

And experts want people across the province between the ages of 55-80 to take part in the important probe.

Dr Jacqueline Connor, from the School of Biomedical Sciences, said: "There is evidence to suggest that Omega-3 fatty acid intake may affect risk of heart attack and stroke.

"Recently research has focused on the impact of Omega-3 on psychological health but so far most of the studies have investigated children. Fish is a good source of Omega-3 but unfortunately many people in this country eat little or no fish.

This project will investigate the effects of taking Omega-3 supplements on mental and physical health of older adults."

Dr Liz Simpson, from the School of Psychology, added: "Omega-3 may also enhance memory, attention and mood.

"These are important for wellbeing in older adults.

"The older population is growing, and it is important to find supplements or foods that can improve and maintain normal everyday functioning in older people so that they can live independently in the community for longer.

"The University of Ulster needs help in providing information to benefit the wider community. The research team are looking for people to take part in this study. Participants must be aged between 55-80 years and relatively healthy.

"They will receive regular health checks, and have memory and mood assessed at the University's Coleraine campus on four occasions."

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