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Nutrition Supplements May Help Improve Behavior in Teens

Nutrient deficiencies in children have been associated with behavioral problems such as poor attention span, aggression, and impaired socialization. A recent study suggests that nutrition supplements may help improve the behavior of teenagers in school.


Participants in the study included 196 “typically developing” teenagers between the ages of 13 and 16. They were given a multivitamin and mineral supplement and an omega-3 supplement containing a 165 mg dose of EPA and a 116 mg dose of DHA or a placebo daily for 12 weeks.


The researchers tracked blood levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as the vitamins and minerals in the supplement. They also tracked behavior via the school disciplinary records and Conners’ teacher ratings.


At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that blood levels of omega-3 and omega-6 had risen significantly, as well as levels of folate, vitamin C, and vitamin D. However, levels of iron and ferritin were unchanged. They also found that the supplement group had improvements on the Conners disruptive behavior scale, while the placebo group worsened.


Disciplinary infringements increased by 25% in both groups as the school year progressed. When the researchers examined low and high baseline infringements, the low subset group increased their number of offenses, while the high subset group improved after taking the supplements.


Researchers from the University of Oxford conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on November 17, 2015, in the British Journal of Nutrition.


Multivitamin-mineral supplements contain minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous, manganese and copper.  They may also contain iron, selenium, iodine, chromium or molybdenum.


Previous studies have shown that multivitamin-mineral supplements may aid in weight loss, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and boost general physical health. Other studies have also shown that the cells of people who routinely take multivitamins have a younger biological age.


Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including alleviating arthritis pain, better moods, improved joint mobility, helping with age related macular degeneration, and aiding your immune system.


Because omega-3 fatty-acids are not found naturally in the human body, it is especially important to make sure that they are a part of your daily diet. Oily, dark fish such as tuna and salmon are high in DHA and EPA omega-3s. T If you don’t like the taste of fish or are just finding it hard to work it into your meal plans, consider taking a high quality supplement. Make sure your supplement is tested for purity and potency.

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