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Type: Journal article
Title: Theinfluence of Omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid, on child behavioral functioning: a review of randomized controlled trials of DHA supplementation in pregnancy, the neonatal period and infancy
Author: Gould, J.F.
Roberts, R.M.
Makrides, M.
Citation: Nutrients, 2021; 13(2):415-1-415-30
Publisher: MDPI AG
Issue Date: 2021
ISSN: 2072-6643
Statement of
Jacqueline F. Gould, Rachel M. Roberts and Maria Makrides
Abstract: This is a review of randomized controlled trials using docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) interventions in the first 1000 days of life with assessments of behavioral functioning in childhood. Electronic databases were searched for trials with a DHA intervention (compared with a placebo group that received no or less DHA) at any time to either women or infants during the first 1000 days, with a subsequent assessment of child behavior. There were 25 trials involving 10,320 mother–child pairs, and 71 assessments of behavior in 6867 of the children (66.5% of those originally enrolled). From the 71 assessments administered, there were 401 comparisons between a DHA group and a control group, with most reporting a null effect. There were no findings of a positive effect of DHA, and 23 instances where the DHA group had worse scores compared with the control group. There was limited evidence that DHA supplementation had any effect on behavioral development, although two of the largest trials with behavioral measures detected adverse effects. Future trials, and future follow-ups of existing trials, should make an effort to evaluate the effect of DHA intervention on behavioral functioning.
Keywords: DHA; omega-3 fatty acids; supplementation; behavior; behavioral problems; prenatal; postnatal; neonatal; infant
Rights: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/).
RMID: 1000033894
DOI: 10.3390/nu13020415
Appears in Collections:Psychology publications

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