Can omega-3 help reduce behavioral disorders in children?

Researchers from Spain report that omega-3 fatty acids can improve perceived mental health status and quality of life of children with behavioral disorders. They examined the effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on mental health and quality of life of children with behavioral disorders.

  • Behavioral disorders significantly affect the mental health and quality of life of children, even when these disorders do not reach pathological levels.
  • The researchers examined 6- to 12-year-old children with behavior-related problems.
  • The study included 942 children with a mean age of 8.5 years.
  • Pediatricians recorded the participants’ data at the beginning and after a three-month follow-up visit.
  • For the study, some of the participants received dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids, while others did not receive any supplement.
  • The researchers used the Kidscreen-10 and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires (SDQ) to assess the effectiveness of each intervention.
  • The SDQ examines 25 positive and negative attributes, which are divided among five scales: emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity/inattention, peer relationship problems, and prosocial behavior.
  • The researchers compared the characteristics of children with behavioral disorders with those of healthy individuals.
  • The results showed that those who received omega-3 fatty acid supplements exhibited improvements in health status and quality of life after three months.
  • Their SDQ scores also improved, except for the emotion subscale.
  • The researchers found that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation alone or in combination with other nonpharmacological treatments effectively improved children’s mental health, especially hyperactivity or inattention and conduct problems.

These findings, which were published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements, suggest that omega-3 supplementation is effective in improving the mental health of children with behavioral disorders.

Read the full text of the study at this link.

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Journal Reference:

Rodriguez-Hernandez PJ, Canals-Baeza A, Santamaria-Orleans A, Cachadina-Domenech F. IMPACT OF OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS AMONG OTHER NONPHARMACOLOGICAL INTERVENTIONS ON BEHAVIOR AND QUALITY OF LIFE IN CHILDREN WITH COMPROMISED CONDUCT IN SPAIN. Journal of Dietary Supplements. 31 October 2018; 1-12. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.08.005

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