Fish oil helps schoolchildren to concentrate

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A new study claims that children can improve learning in school by taking omega-3 fish oil supplements to boost their concentration.

In the study, boys aged eight to 11 who were given doses once or twice a day of docosahexaenoic acid, an essential fatty acid known as DHA, showed significant improvements in their performance during tasks involving attention.

The findings indicate that fish oil could help pupils to study more effectively and potentially help to tackle both attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression since a lack of DHA has been implicated in ADHD.

ADHD can seriously impair a child's education because they have trouble concentrating and are often disruptive in class. A lack of DHA has also been associated with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Dr Robert McNamara, of the University of Cincinnati, who led the team of American researchers, said: "We found that, if you take DHA, you can enhance the function of those brain regions that are involved in paying attention, so it helps people concentrate," said McNamara. The benefit is that it may represent an intervention that will help children or adults with attention impairments."

The study is reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.