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Exercise and Nutritional Supplements Improve Physical Health and Cognition

A combination of physical training and a novel nutritional supplement significantly improved physical and cognitive performance, according to a recent 12-week randomized study with U.S. Airmen. Conducted on 148 participants, half were placed into an exercise-only group and the other half were placed in the exercise- plus-supplement group. All participants underwent a total body exercise program consisting of aerobic and strength training throughout the study. The supplement group also took a daily nutritional supplement that included B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid). Both groups showed gains in strength, endurance, mobility, episodic memory, and problem solving. However, only the participants taking the supplements had improvements in blood pressure, decision-making time, and working memory. The researchers note that both B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids are known to be essential for brain health, which may explain the study’s results. They also suggest that a food-based plan to incorporate more of these vitamins and nutrients, such as eating more fish and dark, leafy greens may be even more beneficial than taking supplements to improve physical and cognitive health.
Zwilling CE, et al. Enhanced physical and cognitive performance in active duty Airmen: evidence from a randomized multimodal physical fitness and nutritional intervention. Sci Rep. 2020;10:17826. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-74140-7.