Algal DHA Improves Reading, Behavior in Children

Parents looking to support their children’s performance in schools may want to consider a new study from the University of Oxford documenting the benefits of algal DHA (life’sDHA from DSM Nutritional Lipids).

The four-month study involved 362 healthy UK children (mostly ages 7–9) who typically scored low (less than 33th percentile) on age-standardized word reading tests. The children either took 600 mg/day of algal DHA or a placebo. Those who initially scored especially low (in the 10th or 20th percentile) in reading showed the most significant improvements.

The researchers stated, “The gains from DHA supplementation in these sub-groups of poorer readers were around 20% and 50% greater, respectively, than would normally be expected, helping these children to catch up with their peer group.”

In addition, parents reported less behavior problems (assessing a range of ADHD-type symptoms) with the treatment group, but teachers did not notice this effect.

In the end, the research team stated, “DHA supplementation appears to offer a safe and effective way to improve reading and behavior in healthy but underperforming children from mainstream schools.”

This study was featured in PLOS Clinical Trials.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, November 2012