Effect of 1 Year Krill Oil Supplementation on Cognitive Achievement of Dutch Adolescents: A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial

Inge S.M. van der Wurff, Clemens von Schacky, Trygve Bergeland, Roeslan Leontjevas, Maurice P. Zeegers, Jelle Jolles, Paul A. Kirschner, Renate H.M. de Groot

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) are important for brain development and function, maybe especially during adolescence. Observational studies have demonstrated an association between fish consumption (a source of LCPUFA) and cognition in adolescents, but intervention trials are lacking. The goal of the current study was to investigate the effect of one year of krill oil (a source of LCPUFA) supplementation on the cognitive performance of adolescents with a low Omega-3 Index (O3I ≤ 5%). A double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled supplementation trial with repeated measurements (baseline (T0), three months (T1), six months (T2), and 12 months (T3)) in adolescents (267 randomized) was executed. Participants were randomized to 400 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per day in Cohort I or placebo and 800 mg EPA + DHA per day in Cohort II or placebo. O3I was monitored by a finger prick at all time points. At T0, T2, and T3, participants executed a neurocognitive test battery. Covariate corrected mixed models were run with either condition (krill or placebo) or O3I as predictors. Krill oil supplementation led to a small but significant increase in mean O3I, but few participants increased to the intended O3I range (8-11%). There was no significant effect of supplementation on the neurocognitive tests, nor a relationship between O3I and neurocognitive test scores. The increase in O3I was small in most participants, probably due to non-compliance. Possibly the increase in O3I was too small to demonstrate an effect. More research on the influence of LCPUFAs on cognition in adolescents is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1230
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Issue number6
Early online date30 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


Funding: This research was partly funded by The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research grant number [057-13-002] and by AkerBiomarine.

FundersFunder number
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research057-13-002


    • adolescents
    • cognition
    • docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
    • eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
    • fatty acids
    • krill oil
    • omega-3 fatty acids
    • omega-3 Index
    • randomized controlled trial (RCT)


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