Food and Behaviour Research

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Influences of micronutrient and omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on cognition, learning, and behavior: methodological considerations and implications for children and adolescents in developed societies.

Frensham LJ, Bryan J, Parletta N. (2012) Nutr Rev. 70(10): 594-610.  

Web URL: View this and related abstracts via PubMed here


The purpose of this review is to outline the current evidence regarding the effects of micronutrient and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 PUFA) supplementation on the cognition, learning, and behavior of children and adolescents living in developed societies.

Existing evidence suggests that children and adolescents in developed countries may perform better on tests of nonverbal intelligence and on behavioral measures after receiving vitamin and mineral supplements with or without n-3 PUFA supplementation compared with those receiving placebo, regardless of age and supplementation formula.

The strongest effects were observed in trials that lasted over 3 months and in subgroups of children with low socioeconomic status, symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and/or learning disabilities.

Future studies should focus on children and adolescents who have a low socioeconomic status or are likely to be suffering nutritional deficiencies to determine the impact of vitamin and mineral supplements with or without n-3 PUFA supplementation on their cognitive and behavioral functioning. These studies should ideally include blood sample analyses to help determine if nutritional status influences the response to supplementation and whether changes in blood status account for effects on cognition and behavior.