Seven in 10 people over the age of 50 have some degree of memory loss and more than half have a friend or family member whose memory is failing.

The research, commissioned by nutritional supplement brand Equazen, also found that almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of those aged over 50 worried about their memory and cognitive health and most feared losing their faculties more than their health.

“Research suggests we are instinctively aware of this early-onset of memory problems. Almost three out of four (73 per cent) of those questioned said they worried about their recall and cognitive health, with one in eight (13 per cent) admitting it was often a concern,” explains Dr Emma Derbyshire, public health nutritionist and Equazen advisor. “Two out of five (40 per cent) are taking steps to try to maintain their cognition, with the most popular strategies being crosswords and puzzles (76 per cent), a healthy diet (75 per cent) and regular exercise (57 per cent).”

However, only one in 10 said they took supplements claiming to aid brain function, despite evidence that omega-3 can help stall memory loss. One randomised control trial of 485 healthy adults aged 55 or older found that those who took 900mg a day of the omega-3 DHA significantly improved immediate and delayed verbal recognition memory scores after 24 weeks. Another found that taking 3g of omega-3 fish oil daily for five weeks led to significant improvements in working memory.

Almost nine out of 10 (89 per cent) of participants knew that oily fish is a good source of omega-3, while only a third (34 per cent) were confident they got enough omega-3 from their diet.

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