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Low Levels Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids In Children Linked To Learning And Behavior Problems

September 13, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
British scientists have found a link between low blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids in children and problems concentrating and learning. For the study, blood samples were taken from 493 schoolchildren between seven and nine years old. Parents also reported on how often their children ate fish. On average, about 2.45 percent of the children's total blood fatty acids were omega-3 DHA and EPA, well below the recommended minimum of four percent. The low levels significantly predicted a child's behavior and ability to learn, the researchers found. Higher levels of omega-3 – DHA in particular – were associated with better reading and memory, as well as with fewer behavior problems as reported by parents and teachers.
Alexandra J. Richardson et al., "Docosahexaenoic Acid for Reading, Cognition and Behavior in Children Aged 7–9 Years: A Randomized, Controlled Trial", PLoS ONE, September 13, 2013, © Richardson et al.
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