Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation reduced impulsive behaviors in one strain of rats, and increased seizures in another strain of rats; some of these behaviors may be found in children with autism or autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
Rat strains are rats that are bred to each other so that they all have the same genes. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements were given to two rat strains in this study. One rat strain (Fast rats) has hyperactivity, learning problems, impulsive behaviors, and increased chance of seizures. Another strain (Slow rats) has few seizures and does not have the behavioral problems that the Fast rats have. The Fast rats had less impulsive behaviors when they had omega-3 therapy, but they have the same seizure sensitivity. The Slow rats’ behavior didn’t change, but they had more seizures when they had omega-3 therapy. The authors said that omega-3 therapy may have different effects in different people, and urged caution when using the therapy.