Omega-3 is a fatty acid commonly found in fish oil. A new research by University of Pennsylvania's Adrian Raine has suggested that omega-3 may have long-term neurodevelopmental effects that ultimately reduce antisocial and aggressive behavior problems in children.
Raine said, "We saw children who had poor nutritional status at three years of age were more antisocial and aggressive at 8, 11 and 17, which made them look back at the intervention and see what stood out about the nutritional component. Part of the enrichment was that the children receiving an extra two and a half portions of fish a week. Omega-3 regulates neurotransmitters, enhances the life of a neuron and increases dendritic branching, but people do not produce it, they can only get it from the environment."
The researchers cautioned that this is still preliminary work in uncovering the role nutrition plays in the link between brain development and antisocial behavior. The changes seen in the one-year period of the study may not last, and the results may not be generalizable outside the unique context of Mauritius.
The study appears in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.