© 2017 American Society for Nutrition Kelly W Sheppard3,4 and Carol L Cheatham3,5,* 3Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC; 4Center for Biobehavioral Health, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH; and 5Nutrition Research Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kannapolis, NC ↵*To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: carol_cheatham{at}unc.edu. ↵1 This work was funded by monies granted to CLC from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) Nutrition Research Institute, and to KWS through a Sigma Xi Grants in aid of Research grant, a Dashiell…

  1. Kelly W Sheppard3,4 and
  2. Carol L Cheatham3,5,*
  1. 3Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC;
  2. 4Center for Biobehavioral Health, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH; and
  3. 5Nutrition Research Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kannapolis, NC
  1. *To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: carol_cheatham{at}unc.edu.
  • 1 This work was funded by monies granted to CLC from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) Nutrition Research Institute, and to KWS through a Sigma Xi Grants in aid of Research grant, a Dashiell Dissertation Start-Up Grant from the UNC-CH Psychology and Neuroscience Department, a predoctoral fellowship from the UNC-CH Center for Developmental Science (NICHD T32-HD07376), and a Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the UNC-CH Graduate School.

  • 2 Supplemental Tables 1 and 2 are available from the “Online Supporting Material” link in the online posting of the article and from the same link in the online table of contents at http://ajcn.nutrition.org.

Abstract

Background: The ω-6 (n–6) to ω-3 (n–3) fatty acid (FA) ratio (n–6:n–3 ratio) was previously shown to be a predictor of executive function performance in children aged 7–9 y.

Objective: We aimed to replicate and extend previous findings by exploring the role of the n–6:n–3 ratio in executive function performance. We hypothesized that there would be an interaction between n–3 and the n–6:n–3 ratio, with children with low n–3 performing best with a low ratio, and those with high n–3 performing best with a high ratio.

Design: Children were recruited on the basis of their consumption of n–6 and n–3 FAs. The executive function performance of 78 children aged 7–12 y was tested with the use of the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery and a planning task. Participants provided blood for plasma FA quantification, and the caregiver completed demographic and activity questionnaires. We investigated the role of the n–6:n–3 ratio in the entire sample and separately in children aged 7–9 y (n = 41) and 10–12 y (n = 37).

Results: Dietary and plasma n–6:n–3 ratio and n–3 predicted performance on working memory and planning tasks in children 7–12 y old. The interaction between dietary n–6:n–3 ratio and n–3 predicted the number of moves required to solve the most difficult planning problems in children aged 7–9 y and those aged 10–12 y, similar to results from the previous study. There was also an interaction between the plasma n–6:n–3 ratio and n–3 predicting time spent thinking through the difficult 5-move planning problems. The n–6:n–3 ratio and n–3 predicted executive function performance differently in children aged 7–9 y and in those aged 10–12 y, indicating different optimal FA balances across development.

Conclusions: The n–6:n–3 ratio is an important consideration in the role of FAs in cognitive function, and the optimal balance of n–6 and n–3 FAs depends on the cognitive function and developmental period studied. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT02199808.

Keywords:

  • Received July 6, 2016.
  • Accepted October 18, 2016.

Source: Executive functions and the {omega}-6-to-{omega}-3 fatty acid ratio: a cross-sectional study [Lipids] : Nutrition.org

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This