Food and Behaviour Research

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Omega-3 fatty acid and nutrient deficits in adverse neurodevelopment and childhood behaviors

Gow RV, Hibbeln JR (2014)  Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2014 23(3) 555-90. doi: 10.1016/j.chc.2014.02.002. 

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Nutritional insufficiencies of omega-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs) may have adverse effects on brain development and neurodevelopmental outcomes. A recent meta-analysis reported a small to modest effect size for the efficacy of omega-3 in youth.

Several controlled trials of omega-3 HUFAs combined with micronutrients show sizable reductions in aggressive, antisocial, and violent behavior in youth and young adult prisoners. Studies of HUFAs in youth, however, remain lacking.

As the evidence base for omega-3 HUFAs as potential psychiatric treatment develops, dietary adjustments to increase omega-3 and reduce omega-6 HUFA consumption are sensible recommendations based on general health considerations.