Healthy Growing

What parents want for their children is for them to be happy, build social networks and succeed in school and life. Today, stress, pressure and dietary deficiencies contribute to children and adolescents experiencing attention problems or antisocial behaviour.

Poor nutrition in early childhood is associated with increased aggressive behaviour and behaviour problems[1]. It is hypothesised that poor nutrition has a negative impact on brain structure and function, which in turn predisposes children to the risk factors for antisocial behaviour [2] [3]. This implies that improving nutrition may help improve child behavioural problems.

Studies

Omega-3 (EPA and DHA) is an essential part of our brain and is well known for its contribution to the development and maintenance of normal brain function[4]. The evidence for EPA and DHA’s role in brain health is extensive and growing, and several studies have shown that omega-3 supplementation results in a reduction in antisocial behaviour[5] [6], aggression[7] and even homicide[8].

However, not many trials have been conducted in children and adolescents. Smartfish has completed three trials in this field, two of which have been published so far. One involved 184 children from the 8–16 age group, randomised to either PowerUp or a placebo-control (juice only) [9]. Significant group interactions were observed within the treatment group showing long-term improvements in child behavioural problems. The other one involved 290 children aged 11–12 years, randomised to either PowerUp only, Cognitive Behavioural Treatment (CBT) only, PowerUp + CBT or control[10]. Children in the PowerUp only group showed reduced externalising behaviour compared to the control group at three months.  At six months the PowerUp + CBT group scored lower on externalising behaviour compared with both the CBT only and control groups

[1] Liu, Raine, Venables, Dalais, & Mednick, 2004

[2] Liu, 2011

[3] Raine, 2008

[4] EFSA: https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/2078

[5] Gesch, Hammond, Hampson, Eves, & Crowder, 2002

[6] Zaalberg, Nijman, Bulten, Stroosma, & van der Staak, 2010

[7] Long & Benton, 2013

[8] Hibbeln, 2001

[9] ISS-B001

[10] ISS-B004

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