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Review: limited evidence from two small trials suggests no improvement in ASD symptoms with short term ω-3 supplementation

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Are ω-3 fatty acids effective in improving the core features and associated symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (ASD)?


Improvements in ASD core features (social interaction, communication and stereotypy) on any scale. Secondary outcomes included improvements in aggression, hyperactivity, insomnia, self-injury and quality of life for individuals and families.



Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data sources

CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, BIOSIS, CINAHL, Science Citation Index, Social Science Citation Index and were searched up to 2 June 2010 and metaRegister of Controlled Trials and Dissertation Abstracts International searched up to 10 December 2008. Reference lists of retrieved articles and the internet were also searched, and authors of included trials contacted.

Study selection and analysis

Randomised controlled trials (RCT) of any type of ω-3 fatty acid supplement compared with placebo in people with ASD diagnosed using established diagnostic criteria or standardised instruments. The review meta-analysed continuous outcomes using fixed and random effects models, which gave similar results, therefore only the fixed …

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  • Sources of funding Not reported.


  • Competing interests None.

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