Students Eat Cod Liver Oil Cookies Daily and Improve Focus & Academic Performance, Shows New Study from Omega3 Innovations

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For 6 weeks, Omega3 Innovations measured middle school students’ taste preference, focus, and academic performance in response to eating omega-3 rich cod liver oil cookies. The results challenge assumptions about students’ unwillingness to consume healthy foods, says study leader.

Study coordinator Debra Betterly, PhD, working with one of the students.

Study coordinator Debra Betterly, PhD, working with one of the students.

Numerous large-scale studies from around the world have demonstrated that omega-3 supplementation can help students improve focus and academic performance. But the biggest problem with omega-3, or any healthy food, is compliance.

If you give students a cod liver oil cookie, will they eat it? That was the big question Omega3 Innovations sought to answer in a new study with the students of a YMCA-based charter middle school, SKY Academy, in Venice, FL.

Six weeks after the trial began, Omega3 Innovations reports that the answer is most definitely a “yes.”

For the study, the sixth, seventh and eighth grade students volunteered to eat one omega-3 cookie every day for breakfast. Each cookie contained a clinically effective dose of 1000 mg of EPA/DHA from fresh cod liver oil. At the beginning and end of the study, the researchers used the international Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) to measure the students’ ability to stay focused and pay attention to change.

Of the 25 students who completed the study, 76% improved their WCST test scores.

Five weeks post study, the researchers tested a random subgroup of 10 students again. This time, the results showed a 60% overall regression in test scores, lending support to the theory that the students improved as a result of eating the cookies as opposed to by virtue of gaining more test experience.

Most exciting to study leader Dr. Bo Martinsen, MD, co-founder of Omega3 Innovations, was the response of the students to eating the cookies. According to Martinsen, most students rated liking the cookies as a 7 or 8 on a scale from 1 to 10. Only two left the study because they didn’t like the taste. When the researchers also surveyed the subgroup of students who were tested post-trial, 9 out of the 10 students said they would like to continue eating the cookie every day.

“Numerous large-scale studies from around the world have demonstrated that omega-3 supplementation can help students improve focus and academic performance. But the biggest problem with omega-3, or any healthy food, is compliance,” said Dr. Martinsen. “Here we have good results indicating that most of the students enjoyed the cookies’ taste, as well as the positive results of eating them”.

The patented omega-3 enriched cookies could be an easy means to improve nutrition in the United States, SKY Academy principal Steve Smith said.

“Our students were eager to receive their cookie every day. Any food that is rich in omega-3 and other nutrients that not only passes a 12-year-old's taste test but exceeds it, should be infused in a young person's daily diet,” said Smith. “We plan to continue our partnership with Omega3 Innovations as our school explores ways to develop our student's health and well-being."

Omega3 Innovations offered the students the choice between eating a dark, non-alkalized chocolate-covered Omega Heaven® cookie or a cranberry Omega Cookie® for breakfast every day. For the purpose of the study, each cookie contained 1000 mg of EPA/DHA from fresh, full-spectrum cod liver oil, 4 grams of fiber from gluten-free whole oats, 400 IUs of vitamin D, 200 mg of calcium, and non-alkalized dark chocolate.

ABOUT SKY ACADEMY:
SKY Academy – which stands for Strength & Knowledge at the YMCA – is a tuition-free, public, charter middle school in Sarasota County. The school’s curriculum is based on research that proves regular physical fitness conditions the mind for academic learning and also helps students build a solid emotional foundation. SKY Academy was founded in 2011 at the Venice YMCA.

ABOUT OMEGA3 INNOVATIONS:
Omega3 Innovations is the world’s only manufacturer to have successfully created baked foods containing an effective daily dose of omega-3 fish oil. A physician-directed company, Omega3 Innovations has developed a complete line of fresh omega-3-based foods, including Omega Cure® liquid fish oil, the gluten-free Omega Cookie®, chocolate-covered Omega Heaven™ cookies and Omega Passion® chocolate truffles. All Omega3 Innovations products are free of gluten, trans fats, added sugars and preservatives.

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Bo Martinsen, MD

Anne-Marie Chalmers, MD
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