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Omega-3 Supplementation May Help Reduce Behavioral Problems in Children

Behavioral issues such as aggression and anti-social behavior can be a huge problem for elementary-aged children, most often treated with therapy and prescription drugs. A recent study suggests that high-dose omega-3 supplementation could reduce anti-social behavior in children while also changing parental attitudes toward the children.

Participants in the study included 200 children between the ages of 8 and 16 with behavioral issues. Over the course of six months, half of the group was given a juice drink containing 1000 mg of omega-3s (300 mg DHA, 200 mg EPA, 400 mg ALA, and 100 mg DPA) while the other half was given a placebo.

Six months after the conclusion of the study, the researchers found a 41.6% reduction in parent-rated child externalized behavior problems. Additionally, a 68.4% reduction in childhood depression was observed.

The researchers also found that anti-social behavior on the part of the caregivers was reduced when the children were given omega-3s.

The researchers highlighted the fact that the changes were not observed immediately after the end of the six-month treatment period but rather six months later. They noted that more than half of the positive results - 60.9% - seen here were due to a change in the parents’ attitudes. They believe this change in parental attitude can be attributed to the fact that the children were easier to deal with, and put less stress on the parents.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on August 22, 2014, in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including improved joint mobility, helping with age related macular degeneration, better moods, 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 omega-3s. If you don’t like fish, consider taking a daily high quality non-fish supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.

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