Study inconclusive on benefits of omega-3

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A study examining the affects of omega-3 supplements on the performance of children in schools has found little evidence that the use of the fatty acids improves children’s reading, spelling or co-ordination. However, teachers did report improvements in children’s attention in class.

Omega-3, the name given to a family of unsaturated fatty acids found mainly in oily fish and also in eggs, meat, milk and cheese, has received a great deal of publicity in recent years amidst claims that it can boost children’s brain functioning, as well as strengthening bones and helping keep the heart healthy.

Leading the sixteen week study of 450 eight to ten-year-olds, Professor Amanda Kirby, of Newport University, said that “Very little is really known about the effects of fatty acids such as omega-3”. While some improvements were reported, Professor Kirby concluded that “Much more research is needed into whether omega-3 supplements can genuinely improve the learning and behaviour of children in mainstream schooling.”

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