Since the 1930s, research evidence has indicated that certain essential fatty acids (EFAs) are required for normal human fetal and neonatal development.
EFA deficiencies can result in pathological changes in immune function; degenerative changes in the lungs, liver and kidneys; and abnormalities in central nervous system maturation.
An article in Psychiatric Times in 2002 indicated that chronic deficiencies in dietary EFAs can result in an increased incidence of multiple sclerosis, arthritis, immune system dysfunction, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and neurodevelopmental disorders.
Recent (2006) evidence from Oxford University supports the role for omega-3 EFA’s in ADHD, dyslexia, developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and autism.
Results from controlled treatment trials have shown that dietary supplementation with fish oils (providing EPA and DHA) appears to alleviate ADHD-related symptoms in at least some children, and one 2006 study of DCD children also found benefits for academic achievement.
A 2006 study from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda MD has demonstrated that Omega 3 deficiencies exacerbated both aggressive and depressive behaviours.
These authors concluded that “Ensuring optimal intakes of omega-3 fatty acids during early development and adulthood shows considerable promise in preventing aggression and hostility.”
All of these recent findings provide strong support for the inclusion of cold-water fish (an excellent source of EFA’s) and Omega 3 supplementation in the diet.