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Omega-3 fatty acids in the management of autism spectrum disorders: findings from an open-label pilot study in Singapore


The goal of this open-label trial was to examine the efficacy and safety of a 12-week omega-3 fatty acids supplementation among children suffering with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). A total of 41 children and adolescents aged 7–18 years (36 boys, 5 girls; mean age=11.66, s.d.=3.05) diagnosed with ASD participated in the study. At post-treatment, participants showed significant improvements on all subscales of the Social Responsiveness Scale (P<0.01) and the Social and Attention Problems syndrome scales of the Child Behavior Checklist (P<0.05). Blood fatty acid levels were significantly correlated with changes in the core symptoms of ASD. Baseline levels of blood fatty acid levels were also predictive of response to the omega-3 treatment. Omega-3 fatty acids supplementation was well-tolerated and did not cause any serious side effects. Our findings lend some preliminary support for the use of omega-3 fatty acids supplementation in addressing ASD. Future randomized controlled trials of omega-3 fatty acids in ASD with blood fatty acid measurements with a larger sample and longer follow-up period is warranted.

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We thank Efamol for providing the omega-3 fatty acids supplementation and for partially sponsoring the study. We also thank Chee Yu Yan and Lim Ee Wen for their contribution to the study and the families of the persons who participated in the study.


Efamol had no role in the design or conduct of the study, data collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the findings, and the preparation and approval of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to M Sung.

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Ooi, Y., Weng, SJ., Jang, L. et al. Omega-3 fatty acids in the management of autism spectrum disorders: findings from an open-label pilot study in Singapore. Eur J Clin Nutr 69, 969–971 (2015).

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