Omega 3 Fatty Acid Supplements and Autism Ranking: Insufficient/Mixed evidence

Omega 3 fatty acid capsules

Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid (EFA), essential to good health.  It cannot be created within the human body and must therefore be obtained from the diet.

Some people think that individuals on the autism spectrum either do not have enough omega 3 or have too much omega-6 in relation to omega-3 in their bodies.

They think that this may cause or worsen some of the symptoms of autism, such as impaired communication and social difficulties.

They also think that these difficulties can be overcome by increasing the amount of omega 3 in the diet or by taking supplements - such as fish oils - which are rich in omega-3 EFAs.

Our Opinion

There is no high quality research evidence to suggest that people on the autism spectrum have an imbalance of omega 3 fatty acids in their bodies.

There is no high quality research evidence to suggest that omega 3 fatty acids improve the core symptoms of autism.

There is mixed evidence from small scale  low quality research studies on whether omega 3 fatty acids decreases hyperactivity in children on the autism spectrum.

Omega 3 is relatively cheap to obtain and relatively easy to administer, either as a supplement or as part of a diet.

Given the number of anecdotal reports of the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids, we recommend that further large scale, high quality research should take place.


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31 Oct 2017
Last Review
01 Jul 2014
Next Review
01 Jul 2017