Low blood long chain omega-3 fatty acids in UK children are associated with poor cognitive performance and behavior: a cross-sectional analysis from the DOLAB study.

P Montgomery, JR Burton, RP Sewell, TF Spreckelsen, AJ Richardson

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA), especially DHA (docosahexaenonic acid) are essential for brain development and physical health. Low blood Omega-3 LC-PUFA have been reported in children with ADHD and related behavior/learning difficulties, as have benefits from dietary supplementation. Little is known, however, about blood fatty acid status in the general child population. We therefore investigated this in relation to age-standardized measures of behavior and cognition in a representative sample of children from mainstream schools. PARTICIPANTS: 493 schoolchildren aged 7-9 years from mainstream Oxfordshire schools, selected for below average reading performance in national assessments at age seven. METHOD: Whole blood fatty acids were obtained via fingerstick samples. Reading and working memory were assessed using the British Ability Scales (II). Behaviour (ADHD-type symptoms) was rated using the revised Conners' rating scales (long parent and teacher versions). Associations were examined and adjusted for relevant demographic variables. RESULTS: DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), accounted for only 1.9% and 0.55% respectively of total blood fatty acids, with DHA showing more individual variation. Controlling for sex and socio-economic status, lower DHA concentrations were associated with poorer reading ability (std. OLS coeff. = 0.09, p = 
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)e66697
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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