A pilot randomized controlled trial of omega-3 fatty acids for autism spectrum disorder

Stephen Bent, Kiah Bertoglio, Paul Ashwood, Alan Bostrom, Robert L. Hendren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

80 Scopus citations

Abstract

We conducted a pilot randomized controlled trial to determine the feasibility and initial safety and efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids (1.3 g/day) for the treatment of hyperactivity in 27 children ages 3-8 with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). After 12 weeks, hyperactivity, as measured by the Aberrant Behavior Checklist, improved 2.7 (±4.8) points in the omega-3 group compared to 0.3 (±7.2) points in the placebo group (p = 0.40; effect size = 0.38). Correlations were found between decreases in five fatty acid levels and decreases in hyperactivity, and the treatment was well tolerated. Although this pilot study did not find a statistically significant benefit from omega-3 fatty acids, the small sample size does not rule out small to moderate beneficial effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)545-554
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Volume41
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2011

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Clinical trial
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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