Parents should give their children a daily dose of fish oils if they want to boost their brain power and stop them being naughty the Daily Express claims.
This advice is highly premature. The news follows research into supplements containing DHA, which is the omega-3 fatty acid found in fish, seafood and algae. The trial looked at the effects of DHA on reading, memory and behaviour in children.
In the study, children aged seven to nine who were underperforming in reading were given either DHA supplements or a placebo (dummy pill) for 16 weeks.
The researchers actually found that, overall, DHA had no beneficial effect on reading ability.
In a restricted analysis on a group of the children who had the poorest initial reading ability, those who were given DHA showed a small improvement compared with those given placebo.
DHA had no effect on memory or behaviour as rated by teachers, though it did improve some aspects of behaviour rated by parents.
This was a well-conducted study that had many strengths in its study design, but that only achieved very modest results in terms of improving reading ability.
If you are worried about your child’s reading ability, spending time reading with them will achieve better results than giving them any kind of food supplement.