Food and Behaviour Research

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Clinical significance of neuropsychological improvement after supplementation with omega-3 in 8-12 years old malnourished Mexican children: A randomized, double-blind, placebo and treatment clinical trial

Portillo-Reyes V, Pérez-García M, Loya-Méndez Y, Puente AE (2014) Res Dev Disabil.  35(4) 861-870. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2014.01.013. Epub 2014 Feb 6. 

Web URL: View this and related abstracts via PubMed here.


It has been shown that supplementation with omega-3 improves cognitive performance, especially in infants and toddlers, but it is unknown whether these results are effective in older malnourished children.

The aims of this study, therefore, were to investigate the omega-3 supplementation effects in 8- to 12-year-old children and to know which neuropsychological functions improve after three months of intervention in a sample of Mexican children with mild to moderate malnutrition. This study was a randomized, double-blind, treatment and placebo study of 59 children aged 8-12 years who were individually allocated to 2 groups. The duration of the intervention lasted 3 months. Neuropsychological performance was measured at baseline and at 3 months.

Results show that more than 50% of children in the treatment group had greater improvement in 11 of the 18 neuropsychological variables studied. Processing speed, visual-motor coordination, perceptual integration, attention and executive function showed improvement in more than 70% of the omega-3 supplemented children. This trial was registered at as NCT01199120.


Long-chain omega-3 improves cognitive functioning in malnourished Mexican children aged 8-12 years. This newly published controlled trial used detailed measures of cognitive functioning, and found particular benefits of omega-3 over placebo for processing speed, visual-motor coordination, perceptual integration, attention and executive function.