Food and Behaviour Research

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28 Jan 2013 - Omega-3 rich diet can boost children's IQ, says meta analysis

by Nathan Gray

FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:

As this news article makes clear, dietary omega-3 (in the form of fish oils) was only one of several interventions that appear to be capable of boosting the general intelligence of children, according to this new study that combined data from many different sources using complex and detailed meta-analysis.

Other interventions with a significant positive effect on IQ included encouraging parents to engage in interactive reading with their children, and pre-school education.

What the Nutraingredients article does not make clear is that the 'omega-3 trials' included in this meta-analysis involved supplementation of the diets of pregnant mothers or young infants, not older children (for whom insufficient data were available). 

Read the full press release at the Association of Psychological Science website here.

Supplementing children's diets with fish oil is one of several effective ways to raise a young child IQ levels, according to a new report.

The meta analysis, published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, finds that supplementation with omega-3 rich fish oil is one of several effective methods to help boost children's intelligence measures.

Led by John Protzko: from New York University (NYU), USA, the research team found that fish oil consumption, along with enrolling children in a quality preschool, and engaging in interactive reading, are all effective at increasing IQ measures.

Protzko and his colleagues analysed the best available studies involving samples of children from birth and kindergarten from their newly assembled "Database of Raising Intelligence" – finding that omega-3 supplementation can boost IQ measures by more than 3.5 points.

"Our aim in creating this database is to learn what works and what doesn't work to raise people's intelligence," said Protzko.

"For too long, findings have been disconnected and scattered throughout a wide variety of journals. The broad consensus about what works is founded on only two or three very high profile studies."

"The larger goal here is to understand the nature of intelligence, and if and how it can be nurtured at every stage of development," added Prof Joshua Aronson, also of NYU – senior author of the study.

"This is just a first step in a long process of understanding," he said. "It is by no means the last word."