Due to the implication of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in neurogenesis, synaptogenesis, neurite outgrowth and to its high incorporation into the brain, this n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) is considered as crucial in the development and maintenance of the learning memory performance throughout life. In the present chapter we aimed at reviewing data investigating the relation between DHA and cognition during the perinatal period, young adult- and adulthood and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer disease (AD). In Humans, dietary DHA supplementation from the perinatal period to adulthood does not reveal a clear and consistent memory improvement whereas it is the case in animal studies. The positive effects observed in animal models may have been enhanced by using n-3 PUFA deficient animal models as controls. In animal models of AD, a general consensus on the beneficial effects of n-3 LCPUFA in attenuating cognitive impairment was established. These studies make DHA a potential suitable micronutrient for the maintenance of cognitive performance at all periods of life.
Keywords: Adult; Alzheimer׳s disease; Cognition; Docosahexaenoic acid; Memory; Perinatal.
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