AutismOmega-3 Fatty Acids

Review: Omega-3 fatty acids to treat autistic spectrum disorder

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco tell us the evidence is minimal.

First, the details.

  • 143 articles were found.
  • 6 studies were worth including in the review.

And, the results.

  • 1 small study of 13 people randomly assigned patients to omega-3 or placebo and reported non-significant improvements in hyperactivity and stereotypy (repetitive or ritualistic movement, posture, or utterance).
  • Among the other 5 studies (ranging from 1 to 30 people) 4 reported improvements in language and learning skills, parental observations of general health and behavior, a clinician-administered symptom scale, and clinical observations of anxiety.

The bottom line?

There’s insufficient scientific evidence to determine if omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for autistic spectrum disorders.

Several years ago it was suggested that an increase in omega-3 fatty acids, in particular DHA, may cause changes in the neurological and immune system, and may to be associated with autism.

2/13/10 22:30 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.