Nutrition journal

Fatty fish intake and attention performance in 14-15 year old adolescents: FINS-TEENS - a randomized controlled trial.

PMID 28969711


Fatty fish is the dominant dietary source of n-3 LCPUFAs but it also contains other micronutrients considered important for brain development and function. To our knowledge, the effect of fatty fish intake on cognitive function in adolescents has not been investigated in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) previously. The aim of the present trial was to investigate whether consumption of fatty fish meals three times per week for 12 weeks could alter attention performance in adolescents compared to similar meals with meat or n-3 LCPUFA supplements. In the Fish Intervention Studies-TEENS (FINS-TEENS), adolescents from eight secondary schools (n = 426; age: 14-15y) were individually randomized. Attention performance was assessed with the d2 test of attention. Differences between groups from pre to post intervention were assessed with linear mixed effect models and general estimates equation. The fish group was set as reference. Dietary compliance was recorded for each meal throughout the trial and controlled for in the adjusted analyses. The improvement in processing speed was significantly lower in the meat (-11.8; 95% CI: -23.3, -0.4) and supplement (-13.4; 95% CI: -24.9, -1.8) group compared to the fish group (reference). The supplement group also showed inferior improvement in total performance (-10.4; 95% CI: -20.0, -0.7) compared to the fish group (reference). The results were slightly affected when controlling for dietary compliance. Omission errors decreased in the meat group compared to the fish group (Incidence rate ratio = 0.85; 95% CI: 0.74, 0.98), but the difference disappeared when controlling for dietary compliance. We observed a small beneficial effect of fatty fish, compared to meat meals and supplements on processing speed. However, these results are difficult to interpret due to low dietary compliance. This study shows that different taste preferences among participants is challenging in intervention trials with food. A prospective cohort design may be a better alternative when studying diet in the future. registration number: NCT02350322 .

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