Those well-deserved darlings of the healthy fat world strike again. This time in an eye-opening new study that looked at how omega 3 fats taken in the form of a daily supplement affects kids’ behavior. For this well conducted, double blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial (the only type of study that can prove cause and effect), researchers gave 100 kids ages 8-16 a daily juice supplement containing 1000 mg of omega 3 fats and a matched control group of 100 kids the same daily juice supplement containing a placebo. The researchers carefully questioned the kids’ caregivers (parents, sitters etc.) about all aspects of the kids’ behaviors at the beginning of the study and twice thereafter-once at 6 months (end of the trial) and again at 12 months (6 months after the trial ended). There were some notable findings. Not at 6 months, but at 12 months (again, 6 months after the trial ended) there was a 41.6% reduction in kids’ behavioral problems along with a 68.4% reduction in kids’ depression-related behaviors. Also worthy of mention was a very significant improvement in the parents’ attitudes and their anti-social behaviors.]. The scientists speculate that the parents’ behaviors improved because their kids were easier to deal with, allowing the parents to feel less stressed. ( Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry doi 10.1111/jcpp.12314)
The results of this study are not at all surprising. Omega 3 fats play a profound and pervasive role in all aspects of brain function, and only 1 in 10 kids are taking in levels deemed to be optimal for brain health. I am a huge proponent of making parents aware of the foods that provide omega 3 fats and how to ultimately be sure that their kids are consuming enough of them. Click here for my advice.