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Omega-3 supplementation during the first 5 years of life and later academic performance: a randomised controlled trial.
Eur J Clin Nutr. 2015 Apr; 69(4):419-24.EJ

Abstract

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES

Consumption of oily fish more than once per week has been shown to improve cognitive outcomes in children. However, it is unknown whether similar benefits can be achieved by long-term omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. The objective was to investigate the effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation during the first 5 years of life on subsequent academic performance in children by conducting a secondary analysis of the CAPS (Childhood Asthma Prevention Study).

SUBJECTS/METHODS

A total of 616 infants with a family history of asthma were randomised to receive tuna fish oil (high in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, active) or Sunola oil (low in omega-3 fatty acids, control) from the time breastfeeding ceased or at the age of 6 months until the age of 5 years. Academic performance was measured by a nationally standardised assessment of literacy and numeracy (National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN)) in school years 3, 5, 7 and 9. Plasma omega-3 fatty acid levels were measured at regular intervals until 8 years of age. Between-group differences in test scores, adjusted for maternal age, birth weight and maternal education, were estimated using mixed-model regression.

RESULTS

Among 239 children, there were no significant differences in NAPLAN scores between active and control groups. However, at 8 years, the proportion of omega-3 fatty acid in plasma was positively associated with the NAPLAN score (0.13 s.d. unit increase in score per 1% absolute increase in plasma omega-3 fatty acid (95% CI 0.03, 0.23)).

CONCLUSIONS

Our findings do not support the practice of supplementing omega-3 fatty acids in the diet of young children to improve academic outcomes. Further exploration is needed to understand the association between plasma omega-3 fatty acid levels at 8 years and academic performance.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.1] Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia [2] Sydney Local Health District, Sydney, NSW, Australia.Center for Weight and Health, College of Natural Resources and School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA.1] Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden [2] Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital, Lung and Allergy Unit, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.No affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Randomized Controlled Trial
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

25117999

Citation

Brew, B K., et al. "Omega-3 Supplementation During the First 5 Years of Life and Later Academic Performance: a Randomised Controlled Trial." European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 69, no. 4, 2015, pp. 419-24.
Brew BK, Toelle BG, Webb KL, et al. Omega-3 supplementation during the first 5 years of life and later academic performance: a randomised controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2015;69(4):419-24.
Brew, B. K., Toelle, B. G., Webb, K. L., Almqvist, C., & Marks, G. B. (2015). Omega-3 supplementation during the first 5 years of life and later academic performance: a randomised controlled trial. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 69(4), 419-24. https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2014.155
Brew BK, et al. Omega-3 Supplementation During the First 5 Years of Life and Later Academic Performance: a Randomised Controlled Trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2015;69(4):419-24. PubMed PMID: 25117999.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Omega-3 supplementation during the first 5 years of life and later academic performance: a randomised controlled trial. AU - Brew,B K, AU - Toelle,B G, AU - Webb,K L, AU - Almqvist,C, AU - Marks,G B, AU - ,, Y1 - 2014/08/13/ PY - 2014/01/03/received PY - 2014/06/10/revised PY - 2014/06/13/accepted PY - 2014/8/14/entrez PY - 2014/8/15/pubmed PY - 2015/12/22/medline SP - 419 EP - 24 JF - European journal of clinical nutrition JO - Eur J Clin Nutr VL - 69 IS - 4 N2 - BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Consumption of oily fish more than once per week has been shown to improve cognitive outcomes in children. However, it is unknown whether similar benefits can be achieved by long-term omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. The objective was to investigate the effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation during the first 5 years of life on subsequent academic performance in children by conducting a secondary analysis of the CAPS (Childhood Asthma Prevention Study). SUBJECTS/METHODS: A total of 616 infants with a family history of asthma were randomised to receive tuna fish oil (high in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, active) or Sunola oil (low in omega-3 fatty acids, control) from the time breastfeeding ceased or at the age of 6 months until the age of 5 years. Academic performance was measured by a nationally standardised assessment of literacy and numeracy (National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN)) in school years 3, 5, 7 and 9. Plasma omega-3 fatty acid levels were measured at regular intervals until 8 years of age. Between-group differences in test scores, adjusted for maternal age, birth weight and maternal education, were estimated using mixed-model regression. RESULTS: Among 239 children, there were no significant differences in NAPLAN scores between active and control groups. However, at 8 years, the proportion of omega-3 fatty acid in plasma was positively associated with the NAPLAN score (0.13 s.d. unit increase in score per 1% absolute increase in plasma omega-3 fatty acid (95% CI 0.03, 0.23)). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings do not support the practice of supplementing omega-3 fatty acids in the diet of young children to improve academic outcomes. Further exploration is needed to understand the association between plasma omega-3 fatty acid levels at 8 years and academic performance. SN - 1476-5640 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/25117999/Omega_3_supplementation_during_the_first_5_years_of_life_and_later_academic_performance:_a_randomised_controlled_trial_ L2 - http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2014.155 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -