Food and Behaviour Research

Donate Log In

Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Autism: The Question of Omega-3.

Posar A, Visconti P. (2016) Pediatr Ann 45(3) 103-7 

Web URL: Read this and related abstracts on


The use of complementary and alternative medicine is widespread among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but methodologically rigorous studies are still necessary to establish its effects.

In this article, we address the role of omega-3 in the treatment of ASD, reviewing the relevant literature highlighted by searches of PubMed from 1949 to the present.

According to the criteria of evidence-based medicine (ie, randomized clinical trials), the data do not support the effectiveness of omega-3 treatment in children with ASD. However, based on anecdotal experiences and on nonrandomized trials, we cannot exclude that there might be a subset of people with ASD who do respond to this type of approach.

We propose a series of questions to be answered by future studies to clarify the possible role of omega-3 in the treatment of ASD.