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Omega-3s and Attention: What's the Connection?

by Barlean's on April 04, 2017

Omega-3s support brain health in people of all ages.* Recent research, for example, has shown that seniors with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids have more mental agility, teens with better stores of omega-3 process information more quickly, and kids who take an omega-3 supplement improve their reading skills.* So the results of a new study finding that omega-3s may play a role in helping kids pay attention is no surprise.* [1]


The study, published last summer in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, studied 42 children between the ages of 6 and 12. The three factors researchers evaluated were: 1. How well the kids were able to pay attention, 2. The levels of omega-3s in their diet, and 3. Their blood levels of omega-3 


Several tasks measured the kids’ ability to pay close attention. The findings were intriguing. Children who had difficulty with attention didn’t have different intakes of omega-3s. But they did have lower blood levels. Researchers surmised these children might metabolize omega-3s less efficiently, which means they would need to consume more than other kids. 


If children with wandering brains are more likely to have lower levels of omega-3 than their more focused counterparts, could supplementation help them? Previous research suggests it does.*[2] For example, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study from Germany found that taking an omega-3 supplement (providing 650 mg EPA/DHA daily) improved attention among 79 boys aged 8 to 14.*[3] 


If you have a child who struggles with attention, make sure he or she is eating plenty of good sources of omega-3 such as salmon or other fatty fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds, and of course, consider the extra insurance of an omega-3 supplement.* 


* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. 



[1] Chang JP, et at. Clin Psych Sci. 2016 June 29. 4(6):1094-1103

[2] Daniells S. Nutraingredients. 2015 Sep 16.

[3] Bos DJ, et al. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015 Sep; 40(10):2298-2306 


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