American scientists have found that children taking large doses of omega-3 fatty acid supplements contained in fish oil helps them concentrate in school and thus improve their educational attainment.
Children between 8 and 11 years old who took a dose of the fatty acid known as (DHA) once or twice a day showed significant improvement in their performance during tasks that require attention.
Dr. Robert McNamara from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, who led the team of American scientists, said that their results help students study effectively and treat both attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as depression.
The study is considered extremely important because DHA deficiency has been linked to ADHD and other similar conditions.
The Observer newspaper reported that ADHD affects between 4% and 8% of British children, which may negatively affect their educational attainment due to difficulty concentrating during class.
DHA deficiency is also linked to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
“We found that if you take DHA, you can enhance the function of the parts of the brain responsible for attention, and this helps with concentration,” McNamara said.
The researchers conducted the experiment on 33 American students who received doses of 400 mg or 1,200 mg of DHA every day for eight weeks.
It turned out that the performance of those who took high doses was better in mental operations such as mathematical problems, and brain scanners showed that the functional activity of the frontal cortex of the brain – which controls memory, attention, and the ability to plan – increased significantly.