Fish oils may improve behaviour

Adolescents who have a higher intake of fish oils tend to be less hostile than those who have a low intake, say researchers. And since hostility has been shown to predict heart disease, fish oil may also reduce heart disease risk.

Scientists from across the US examined the association of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and fish with level of hostility in a group of 3,581 urban white and black young adults. The researchers utilized dietary assessments and measurements of hostility and other covariates to determine the results.

They found that “a high dietary intake of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and consumption of fish rich in [omega-3] fatty acids may be related to lower likelihood of high hostility in young adulthood.” Omega-3 rich fish include salmon, mackerel, herring and other cold-water fish. The researchers say their findings on fatty acids and hostility in young adults merit further research.

Other studies have linked low DHA consumption with higher rates of learning disorders, especially attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD).

Source: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2004:58, 24-31