Omega oils and IQ

Omega oils for IQ?
Omega oils and IQ / Cognitive ability.

A new place-bo-controlled, double blind study of 154 nine and 10 years old in Sweden appears to confirm that those children that are given Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids may drastically improve their reading ability. In this study, the children were randomly assigned to three groups. The first group was given Omega 3 supplements, the second group Omega 6 supplements, and the control group was given an identical looking tablet which contained a placebo (palm oil). After three months, all the children were given Omega 3/6 capsules as part of the study. The children’s reading ability was measure with the aid of a computer-based ‘Logos’ test.

The authors of the study noted that children who were given fatty acids demonstrated significantly enhanced reading skills even after three months. Although none of the children had been diagnosed with ADHD, those children with mild attention issues experienced the greater improvement in reading with the administration of fatty acids.

The role of polyunsaturated fats in children’s learning and development is a growing area of interest. Matt Johnson, from the University of Gothenburg notes that the cell membranes in the brain are largely made up of polyunsaturated fats, and that some studies have noted that supplementation of fatty oils may enhance signal transmission betweeen nerve cells; this may explain some of the results seen in this study.

Other studies have failed to show a signicant association between fatty acid consumption and cognitive performance.


Several interesting questions come to mind including whether the auhors would have controlled for the IQ level of children, and whether other cognifive skills (e.g. mathematical) might have also benefited from the fatty oil supplementation.

There is certaintly plenty a very interesting base to build on for future studies into the link between omega oils and IQ / cognitive performance.

Omega oils and IQ

The jury is still out as to whether the consumption of omega oils can lead to a lasting boost in IQ.

Rick Rosner, with an IQ of 192, incorporates the consumption of fish oil (as well as aspirin) into his daily breakfast diet. Despite the scant evidence, many intelligent people (including the author of this posting) supplement with fatty oils.

However, although there is some positive association between Omega oils and IQ, there are risks in supplementing with fatty acids. For instance, owing to the lack of regulation of supplements, the source of the fatty acids (particularly fish oils) could be contaminated, or could even contain mercury and other pollutants, which could theoretically negate any IQ benefits that fatty oil supplementation may bring. For this reason, people willing to take the risk should at least search our the purest grade fish oils, and keep these in a cool and dark environment  to help prevent the product from going off.

On a personal note, the number of studies confirming some positive cognitive effect from fatty oil supplementation seem too many to be spurious.

You can test your IQ at



Alcohol consumption and IQ

Alcohol consumption and IQ
Alcohol consumption and IQ are positively correlated

A study published in 2010 has suggested that brighter children in the UK and the US grow up to drink more alcohol. There is a very strong monotonic association between childhood intelligence (measured before the age of 16) and the frequency of alcohol consumption in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Very bright British children (with IQs > 125) grow up drinking nearly one full standard deviation more alcohol than their very dull classmates (with IQs < 75). So there is a clear association between alcohol consumption and IQ. The author concludes that in early humans, alcohol consumption would be accidental and achieved by consuming fermented fruits. So the liquid form of it can be traced back less than 10,000 years is therefore considered evolutionary novel. Because of this, it is posited that more intelligent humans would tend to seek its liquid consumption because doing so is evolutionary novel.

A recent study by the University of Illinois in Chicago also found a link between alcohol consumption and IQ, or at least cognitive function. Specifically, men who drank the equivalent of two pints of beer were found to be better at solving brain teasers and puzzles than their teetotal counterparts. The study found that men with a blood-alcohol level of 0.07% or higher solved 40% more problems than the sober control group and took 12 seconds to complete the task compared to 15.5 seconds for the sober group.  The study found that men who drank a moderate amount of alcohol performed worse in tasks involving working memory but significantly better in creative problem solving.

A third study from the London School of Economics also found that women who graduated from college were more likely to admit daily drinking.

Alcohol consumption and IQ are related. So what should you do about it?

Despite what appears to be a clear relationship between alcohol consumption and IQ, is it not clear whether drinking alcohol can increase IQ. In fact, binge drinking can have disastrous consequences on the brain that are likely to adversely affect neurological functions including IQ.

One thing is for sure, if the smartest among us tend to drink more, it is probably OK to consume moderate amounts of alcohol in the context of a healthy diet and overall lifestyle. Who knows? Your most creative moments may appear after a glass of wine or a beer (or two).

If you want to test the results yourself, you can take an IQ test here, and see whether you score improves after a beer or two. CLICK HERE


IQ boosting foods

Gotu Kola: is it really on the list of IQ boosting foods for healthy adults?
IQ boosting foods may include Gotu Kola supplements for children with mental retardation

Diet most definitely plays a part in improving or maintaining your IQ. There are plenty of foods which are reported to enhance mental alertness and even possibly enhance IQ. So you not only need to consider your waist line when it comes to diet, but you also need to consider the impact of what you eat on your brain and your mental processing abilities.

Let’s look at a list of possible IQ boosting foods. We will attempt to categorize them into moderately high evidence, medium evidence and low evidence of possible effects on the brain.

Moderately high evidence

  1. Creatine: often used by bodybuilders, creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid that occurs naturally in vertebrates and helps supply energy to all cells in the human body. An Australian study found that creatine supplementation in the short term provided a significant boost in brain power including memory. Refinements on this study found that creatine supplementation was able to negative the negative effects of sleep deprivation.
  2. Omega and fish oils: supplementation by either pregnant mothers or to young infants has been shown to increase IQs of children by up to 3.5 points. A study in northern England also found that pupil performance improved with fish oil supplementation. Some studies have also found that consumption of fish oils conferred an IQ advantage in adults. Although omega and fish oils are IQ boosting foods, the purity of the oils is also a critical component.

Medium-evidence IQ boosting foods

  1. Gotu Kola: is a pervasive south Asian herb. Its supplementation has been shown to improve IQs of children with mental retardation by up to 10%. It is not clear whether this herb can achieve the same feet in normal children or adults.
  2. Blueberries: some studies have found that their consumption may improve memory in older adults with age-related memory problems. Berries contain flavonoids have recently been found to confer positive benefits to the brain. Whether or not blueberries are really an IQ boosting food remains unknown, but these tasty foods certainly fall in the category of super foods and are thus worth adding to one’s diet.

Low-evidence IQ boosting foods

  1. Gingko Biloba: is a herb that has long been claimed to boost memory and concentration. Although the strongest early evidence in its favor related to the treatment of Alzheimer’s, recent meta analyses have suggested that the herb does not alter the progression of the diseases and that memory or problem-solving abilities are not enhanced by its consumption. This one should really fall off the list of IQ boosting foods.

You may want to test your baseline IQ here, and to re-test once you have added these elements to your diet.