Study shows beneficial effects of omega-3 supplementation (Smartfish Recharge) on long-term behavioural improvement in children.
There is evidence to suggest that poor nutrition contributes to the development of antisocial and aggressive behaviour in children. Supplementing with vitamins and minerals may therefore have the potential to reduce these tendencies in children.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was set out to test whether supplementation with omega-3 could reduce child and adolescent antisocial or aggressive behaviour. A total of 200 children between the ages of 8 and 16 years participated in the study. The omega-3 supplement was a 200ml ‘Smartfish Recharge’ drink containing fruit juice, vitamin D, antioxidants, and 1000mg of omega-3. Children in the treatment group consumed this supplement for the duration of the 6 month study, while children allocated to the control group consumed the same drink, without the 1000mg of supplemented omega-3.
The results of the study demonstrated a 41.6% reduction in parent-reported externalizing behaviour of the child (aggressive/antisocial), and 68.4% reduction of internalizing behaviour (depression/anxiety/withdrawal). These results were reported 6 months after the end of the study period. The researchers suggest that the results seen may be due to the importance of omega-3 in brain development during childhood. The results, however, are preliminary, and the researchers state that more study is necessary to determine the potential for omega-3s to be used as an intervention for behavioural problems.
A follow up study is being conducted by the City University of Hong Kong, in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania, and Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. The study aims to enroll 300 patients and has an estimated completion date of June 2017.
The study aims to assess whether supplementing with omega-3 for 6 months can decrease externalizing behaviour in children aged between 11 and 16 years. The study will also assess brain functioning by using bother neurocognitive and psychophysiological measures. The omega-3 supplement will again consist of the Smartfish Recharge drink.
Raine, A, Portnoy, K, Liu, J, Mahoomed, T, Hibbeln, JR. “Reduction in behavior problems with omega-3 supplementation in children aged 8–16 years: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, stratified, parallel-group trial.” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry Volume 56, Issue 5, pages 509–520, May 2015.
clinicaltrials.gov “Omega-3 Supplementation and Behavior Problems” Available from: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02334098?term=omega-3+AND+behaviour&rank=2 Last Accessed May 22, 2015.
Image courtesy of John Kasawa at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD