Fish oils 'have little effect on children's reading skills'
Omega-3 fish oils have little effect on children's reading skills or memory, according to a new study.
This latest research is in direct contradiction to earlier studies carried out by the same team of scientists and using the same Omega-3 fish oil supplement.
The new research found there was no evidence that the supplements improve the reading ability or memory function of under-performing school children.
The earlier study, carried out in 2012, found that Omega-3 supplements had a beneficial effect on the reading ability and memory of children with learning disabilities such as ADHD.
In the second trial, the researchers tested children who were in the bottom quarter of ability for reading.
They found that fish oil supplements did not have any effect, or very little, on the children's reading ability, working memory or behaviour.
The team, from the universities of Birmingham and Oxford, tested 376 children aged between seven and nine. Half of the children were given an Omega-3 fish oil supplement, while the remainder were given a placebo.
Their reading and working memory were tested before and after by their parents at home and their teachers in school - with no real difference in the outcome.
Co-author of the report, Dr Thees Spreckelsen from the University of Oxford, said: "Fish oil or Omega-3 fatty acids are widely regarded as beneficial.
"However the evidence on benefits for children's learning and behaviour is clearly not as strong as previously thought."