ADHDAutismChildrenDyslexiaOmega-3 Fatty Acids

Is there a relationship between omega-3 and childrens’ behavior?

It’s suggested that omega-3 fatty acids might have an effect on disorders such as ADHD, autism, and dyslexia.

Researchers from the University of Wales, in Newport, UK looked for an association between omega-3 tissue levels and learning and behavior in school-aged children.

First, the details.

  • Cheek cell samples from 411 school children were collected and analyzed to establish the range in this population.
  • Teachers and parents assessed general classroom attention and behavior in these children.
  • Cognitive performance was evaluated for an association between behavior and/or cognitive performance vs omega-3 levels.

And, the results.

  • Reading, spelling, and intelligence showed no association with omega-3 levels.
  • Some associations were noted with the level of omega-3 fatty acids and teacher and parental reports of behavior.
    • Higher omega-3 levels were associated with decreased levels of inattention, hyperactivity, emotional and conduct difficulties
    • Higher omega-3 levels were associated with increased levels of prosocial behavior (helping and sharing for harmonious group relations).

The bottom line?

The results suggest an association between higher omega-3 levels in cheek cells and more appropriate behavioral activities in children.

Now, it might be useful to do the same study in children with ADHD, using these data as a baseline.

4/23/10 22:34 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.