Fish oil supplements won’t make your kid any smarter, Australian study

Posted by Andrea Hogan on 22nd March 2017

Taking fish oil supplements during pregnancy will not make your child any brighter a South Australian study has found.

Published online by the Journal of the American Medical Association on 21 March 2017, the researchers studied the IQ of children at the age of seven after their mothers were either given fish oil supplements during pregnancy or a placebo. The researchers said there was “strong evidence for the lack of benefit” from taking the supplements to help increase the children’s IQ.

Out of all the children studied, the average IQ did not differ between those whose mothers had a placebo and those who had the fish oil the researchers said.

Perceptual reasoning was slightly higher for the children with mothers given the supplements, but the parents of this group reported worse behavioural problems and executive dysfunction was considered worse.

The research said these negatives effects may be true effects of taking the supplements, but that effect sizes were small and neurodevelopmental diagnoses did not differ between groups.

The researchers also stated that the sale of prenatal supplements with docsahexaenoic acid (the omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil) continue to rise despite “little evidence of benefit to offspring neurodevelopment”.


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