“We saw children who had poor nutritional status at age three were more antisocial and aggressive at 8, 11 and 17-years-old”Raine’s findings spurred further investigation into the positive effects the supplement could offer to non-neurotypical children. The study, based on small island nation Mauritius, offered selected children an Omega-3 based enrichment program, and tracked their progress in response to cognitive stimulation and physical exercise alongside the progress of similar children that did not partake in the supplement enrichment program.
The Omega-3 study found that the enrichment program had garnered impressive results. At 11-years-old, participants who took the fish oil supplements as a part of the program demonstrated marked improvement over their peers who did not go through with the enrichment when undergoing brain function measurement via EEG. Similarly, at 23-years-old the program shows a 34 percent reduction in anti-social or criminal behaviour.
“Omega-3 regulates neurotransmitters, enhances the life of a neuron, and increases dendritic branching, but our bodies do not produce it. We can only get it from the environment,”Further studies into the potential effects of Omega-3 are currently being conducted. One recent study supplied children between the ages of 8 and 16-years-old with juice cartons, half of which were supplemented with Omega-3. Both before and after six months on the supplement program, participants and their parents underwent personality tests and questionnaires that showed families receiving the additional Omega-3 in their diets reported improved behaviour from the children, including less externalised aggression and lying.
The findings enforce studies in the past that encourage pregnant women to incorporate a little more fish to supplement their diets, as Raine emphasises the nutritional dependency of healthy neural development. Investigation into Omega-3 continues to garner promising results.
The research has offered a becon of hope to parents and children concerned that non-neurotypical disorders, such as ADHD, may leave damaging and long-lasting scars on their future.