This article reviews the involvement of the omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) DHA and EPA in several psychiatric disorders, including autism. The authors conclude that the symptoms of many of these disorders, including autism, may be improved by omega-3 EFA supplementation.
The authors describe the biochemistry of omega-3 fatty acids, and mention that most modern diets are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. They explain the discovery, in the 1970s, of the importance of omega-3 fatty acids to human health. Omega-3 fatty acids affect the structure of brain cells and the way that brain cells work. They believe that this is why supplementation with omega-3 EFAs is able to improve the symptoms of several psychiatric disorders including: schizophrenia, depression, and postpartum depression. While there is very little research showing that omega-3 supplementation helps children with autism, research has shown that children with autism have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids than typical children. The authors conclude that children with autism may also respond well to omega-3 supplementation.