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

Aims and Claims

Aims

The aim of taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements is to treat any omega-3 fatty acid deficiency and to increase the amount of omega-3 relative to the amount of omega-6. Some people think this will affect the balance of fatty acids in cell membranes, which could affect brain function and mental health.

Omega -3 fatty acid supplements have been used as a treatment for a range of conditions including in the prevention of heart disease and in some inflammatory disorders.

Claims 

There have been various claims made for essential fatty acids and individuals on the autism spectrum. For example, the following researchers have made the following claims

  • Amminger et al. (2007) reported that omega-3 fatty acids reduced hyperactivity and stereotypy in seven autistic children who were treated for eight weeks.
  • Bell et al (2004) reported that omega-3 fatty acids led to improvements in overall health, cognition, sleep patterns, social interactions and eye contact in 18 autistic children who were treated for six months.
  • Meguid et al (2008) reported that omega-3 fatty acids improved concentration, eye contact, language development and motor skills in 30 autistic children who were treated for three months.

In addition, there have been a number of anecdotal claims for the benefits of essential fatty acids including Patrick and Salik (2005) who reported significant improvements in language and learning skills.

Updated
14 Dec 2018
Last Review
01 Dec 2018
Next Review
01 Dec 2021