Omega-3 Effects on Child and Parent Behavior Problems in Mauritius

There is evidence that poor nutrition may increase risks for behavior problems and that improving nutrition may reduce problems. To experimentally test the effects of omega-3 on children’s behavior problems, Raine et al. (2015) conducted a randomized controlled trial in which 100 8-16-year-old Mauritian children received a daily fruit drink containing 1000 mg. of omega-3 while 100 control children received the same fruit drink but without omega-3. Parents completed the CBCL/6-18 while the children completed the YSR prior to treatment, again after the 6-month treatment, and again after a 6-month follow-up period.

To assess possible changes in parental functioning, the parents also completed the short version of the self-report Psychopathic Personality Inventory at each assessment. It was found that CBCL scores for Internalizing, Externalizing, and all syndromes except Somatic Complaints declined significantly more for children receiving omega-3 than for control children. Surprisingly, parents’ self-ratings on the Psychopathic Personality Inventory also showed significantly greater declines for parents whose children received omega-3 than for parents of control children. Statistical analyses showed that changes in parental functioning that occurred in response to the effects of omega-3 on the children contributed to further improvements in the children’s functioning.


Raine, A., Portnoy, J., Liu, J., Mahoomed, T., & Hibbeln, J.R. (2015). Reduction in behavior problems with omega-3 supplementation in children aged 8-16 years: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, stratified, parallel-group trial. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 56, 509-520.