Do you feel like you are losing your mental edge? Although life expectancy is on the rise, a recent study shows that cognitive decline is beginning as early as age 45. This is a concern as the maintenance of cognitive health becomes a public health priority as poor cognitive status is considered a major disabling condition in old age causing loss of independence.  Experts are surprised at the findings  because previous studies had established an inverse association between age and cognitive performance, with results suggesting little cognitive decline occurs before the age of 60. A recent large-scale study conducted at University College London over a 10-year period, involved 10,308 men and women, ages 45 to 70 years.  Over the 10-year study time frame, each subject was evaluated for memory, vocabulary, reasoning and verbal fluency on three separate occasions.  The results showed that cognitive performance (apart from the vocabulary tests) declines with age and more rapidly as the individual’s age increases. The decline is significant in each age group.  During the period studied, reasoning scores decreased by 3.6 % for men aged between 45 and 49, and 9.6 % for those aged between 65 and 70. The corresponding figures for women stood at 3.6% and 7.4% respectively. The study researchers conclude that there is evident cognitive decline occurring in middle age – specifically ages 45-49. So what can be done to enhance cognitive ability or delay the decline? New discovery also points to the importance of providing the brain with the right nutrients, so that the new cells can be easily formed. One compound, choline, is required for synthesis of the key neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and it is used for the building and maintenance of brain cell membranes. Acetylcholine is vital for thought, memory and sleep, and is also involved in the control of movements. Not surprisingly, the production of acetylcholine decreases with age, resulting in poor memory, diminished learning ability and cognitive decline in general. Similarly, a study at the University of California, Berkley, suggests that low levels of Omega 3s, particularly DHA and EPA may contribute to cognitive decline. Findings indicate that regular consumption of Omega 3s, especially sources rich in EPA and DHA (such as krill oil), can considerably improve cognitive function. Moreover, a study of 30 adults with attention difficulties showed 46% improvement in mental concentration and 48.9 % mental focus after 90 days of taking krill oil supplements. Furthermore, krill oil contains the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin, which has the rare ability to cross the blood brain barrier and rid the body of free radicals that can lead to cognitive impairment. Gray matter in the brain is 60 percent fatty acids by composition. These fatty acids are extremely vulnerable to free radical damage, which is a major cause of brain cell degeneration. Consequently, astaxanthin helps stave off the aging effects of free radical damage in the brain. Supplementing with a product like our Asta-Krill 8 can definitely help support your cognitive ability. Yours in good health, Linda Hlivka Clinical Nutritionist