Omega-3 supplements make children better behaved by improving their brain health, study finds 

Children who take omega-3 supplements are better behaved, new research suggests.

Youngsters who take such supplements every day are less likely to disobey instructions, steal or damage property, a study found.

This in turn makes such children’s parents less likely to argue with them, the research adds.  

Lead author Professor Jill Portnoy, from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, said: ‘Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to improve brain health in children and adults. 

‘There is more to be learned about the benefits, but if we can improve people’s brain health and behaviour in the process, that’s a really big plus.’

Children who take omega-3 supplements are better behaved, new research suggests (stock)


Iron is important for the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body.

A lack of iron can cause anaemia.

The Department of Health states most people should be able to get all of their iron intake from their diet. 

Good food sources include:

  • Liver (this should be avoided in pregnancy)
  • Meat
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Whole grains
  • Dark-green, leafy vegetables, such as kale

How much iron do people need a day?

  • Men over 18: 8.7mg
  • Women aged 19-50: 14.8mg
  • Women over 50: 8.7mg

Women with heavy periods, or those who are pregnant, may require supplements.

Iron intakes of more than 20mg a day can lead to constipation, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Very high doses can be fatal, particularly in children, therefore iron supplements should be kept out of youngsters’ reach.

Source: NHS Choices 

How the research was carried out  

Some 200 children were analysed, half of which were given a fruit drink containing 1mg of omega-3 fats every day, while the remainder received the same beverage but without the supplement.

The children’s parents or carers reported the youngsters’ behaviour at the start of the study, when the trial ended six months later and then a further 24 weeks after that.

The findings were published in the journal Aggressive Behavior. 

Nature or nurture?

The study’s findings add to Professor Portnoy’s interest in whether people act a certain way due to aspects of their genetic makeup or if social factors drive them to it. 

She said: ‘Of course it’s both. Biology and social environment interact in complex ways that we’re just beginning to figure out.’

Professor Portnoy plans to investigate whether having a low heart rate leads to anti-social behaviour. 

She said: ‘If you are subjected to chronic or frequent stress as a child, you adapt by lowering your heart rate. 

‘The lower heart rate protects you by blunting your reaction to stressful events, but it can also lead to stimulation-seeking behavior. 

‘In other words, a stressful environment may cause physiological changes that lead to an increase in aggressive and impulsive behavior, in addition to causing the behaviour directly.’

This in turn makes such children's parents less likely to argue with them (stock)

This in turn makes such children’s parents less likely to argue with them (stock)

Just one egg a day can boost a baby’s brain development

This comes after research released last December suggested feeding babies eggs boosts their brain development function.

Just one egg a day for six months significantly increases youngsters’ levels of the nutrients choline and DHA, both of which are involved in brain health, a study found.

Previous research suggests feeding babies eggs improves their growth and prevents stunting.

Lead author Lora Iannotti, from the Brown School at Washington University, said: ‘Like milk or seeds, eggs are designed to support the early growth and development of an organism and are, therefore, dense in nutrient content.

‘Eggs provide essential fatty acids, proteins, choline, vitamins A and B12, selenium, and other critical nutrients at levels above or comparable to those found in other animal food products, but they are relatively more affordable.’