This article describes research showing that children with autism have lower levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) in their blood than typical children. Moreover, supplementation with omega-3 EFAs generally improves the behavior of children with autism.
This article describes several experiments to test the idea that children with autism are deficient in essential fatty acids (EFAs). In the first study, parents were asked to rate their childrenâ??s physical characteristics against a checklist of indicators for EFA deficiency. These characteristics included: dry skin, dry hair, dandruff, and excessive thirst. A group of 94 children with autism (ages not given) and another group of 10 children with Aspergerâ??s syndrome both had significantly higher ratings on these questionnaires than a group of 71 children without autism, suggesting that autism can be linked to EFA deficiency. In another study, blood levels of EFAs in 29 children with autism or Aspergerâ??s syndrome were compared with those of 55 controls. Overall, the results showed that the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio was significantly higher in children with autism or Aspergerâ??s than in controls, again suggesting that autism can be linked to EFA deficiency.