Effect of Omega-3 Supplementation on Self-Regulation in Typically Developing Preschool-Aged Children: Results of the Omega Kid Pilot Study-A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial

Lauren A. Roach, Mitchell K. Byrne, Steven J. Howard, Stuart J. Johnstone, Marijka Batterham, Ian M. R. Wright, Anthony D. Okely, Renate H. M. de Groot, Inge S. M. van der Wurff, Alison L. Jones, Barbara J. Meyer

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Abstract

Supplementation of omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFA) may enhance self-regulation (SR) and executive functioning (EF) in children of preschool age. The aim of the Omega Kid Study was to investigate the effect of n-3 LCPUFA supplementation on SR and EF in typically developing preschool-aged children. A double-blind placebo-controlled pilot trial was undertaken, the intervention was 12 weeks and consisted of 1.6 g of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per day compared to placebo. The HS-Omega-3 Index® was assessed by capillary blood samples at baseline and post-intervention. Seventy-eight children were enrolled and randomised to either the n-3 LCPUFA treatment (n = 39) or placebo (n = 39) group. Post intervention, there was a significant three-fold increase in the HS-Omega-3 Index® in the n-3 LCPUFA group (p < 0.001). There were no improvements in SR or EF outcome variables for the n-3 LCPUFA group post intervention compared to the placebo group determined by linear mixed models. At baseline, there were significant modest positive Spearman correlations found between the HS-Omega-3 index® and both behavioural self-regulation and cognitive self-regulation (r = 0.287, p = 0.015 and r = 0.242, p = 0.015 respectively). Although no treatment effects were found in typically developing children, further research is required to target children with sub-optimal self-regulation who may benefit most from n-3 LCPUFA supplementation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3561
JournalNutrients
Volume13
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2021

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