Feeding children suffering from extreme aggression a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids will help reduce the behaviour problem in them for short term, especially its more impulsive and emotional form, according to a new study.
Researchers from University of Pennsylvania in the US placed 290 children aged 11 and 12 years with a history of violence into four groups.
The first received omega-3 in the form of juice as well as multivitamins and calcium for three months.
For that same duration, a second group participated in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which included meeting weekly for an hour, with time split between the child, the parent and with both together.
“Sessions focused on the links between thoughts, feelings and behaviour and also practising alternative actions the children could take to deal with difficult situations rather than to emotionally react to something,” said Therese Richmond from University of Pennsylvania.
A third group in the study took the supplements and participated in CBT, and a fourth received resources and information targeted at reducing aggressive behaviour.
Blood samples at the experiment’s start and conclusion measured omega-3 levels in each child.
“Immediately after three months of the nutritional intervention rich in omega-3s, we found a decrease in the children’s reporting of their aggressive behaviour,” Richmond said.
The findings were published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.