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Omega-3 Supplementation as a Dietary Intervention to Reduce Aggressive and Antisocial Behavior

  • Attention-Deficit Disorder (A Rostain, Section Editor)
  • Published:
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Purpose of Review

Although there is an increasing body of literature on the relationship between omega-3 fatty acids and aggressive/antisocial behavior, evidence to date suggests that there are mixed findings on the efficacy of omega-3 supplementation as a dietary intervention to reduce such behaviors. This article describes the current state of the research regarding omega-3 supplementation and aggressive/antisocial behavior from intervention studies, with an emphasis on randomized controlled trials.

Recent Findings

The current evidence base indicates a small effect size (approximately d = .20) for the efficacy of increased omega-3 intake in reducing aggressive and antisocial behavior in children and adults. How precisely omega-3 supplementation results in such behavioral improvement is an open question, although upregulation of dysfunctional prefrontal regions is one candidate mediator.


Directions for further research include understanding the more basic mechanisms that may underlie any intervention effects, delineating dose-response relationships, ascertaining optimal treatment duration and composition, conducting follow-ups post-treatment, and testing the provisional hypothesis that more impulsive, reactive forms of aggression may be particularly amenable to omega-3 supplementation.

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Correspondence to Olivia Choy.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Attention-Deficit Disorder

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Choy, O., Raine, A. Omega-3 Supplementation as a Dietary Intervention to Reduce Aggressive and Antisocial Behavior. Curr Psychiatry Rep 20, 32 (2018).

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