Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Study : Omega-3 fatty acid for treating autism

In the August issue of Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology is a brief report on the omega-3 and autism -

In this study the researchers gave 1 gram of omega-3 to a group of ten children for twelve weeks. Of the nine children who completed the study, eight of them showed modest improvements in the core symptoms of autism using several measures.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that like most of the studies of this type this one is relatively weak because the study population was very small and the participants knew what they were taking. However, unlike other studies, the evaluations on the children were done by trained professionals and did not rely on parental ratings.

None of the children in the study showed any side effects nor did any children show a worsening of their autism. This study adds to the growing list of studies that shows that omega-3 supplementation is safe and potentially helpful for treating autism.

Now, if the US Patent Office would only grant a patent on omega-3 to a pharmaceutical company then maybe we would see larger scale testing to prove the effectiveness.


  1. How do we know that the omega-3 supplements do not have mercury in it?

  2. It depends on the manufacturer that makes the product and what they do to address the problem. Any reputable source should tell you exactly want they do to mitigate the problem.

    For example, we use products from Nordic Naturals because our children's doctor recommended it to us. They address the question of mercury directly on their site -

    I am not endorsing the product, but giving it as an example of what a answer to this question should look like.

    In our case it helps that a doctor recommed it, that they do address questions like this, and it is sold in regular stores so there isn't the chance that a doctor is profiting directly from the recommendation.

    Hope this helps.