News article

Generation Game: Effects of Omega-3 deficiency may worsen over consecutive generations

Posted:  Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The negative effects of poor omega-3 intake could become incrementally worse through consecutive generations, according to a new study.

The team of US researchers used rats to model how second generation deficiencies of omega-3 fatty acids affected long term health, mood and cognitive functions – finding that deficiencies in the essential fatty acid over consecutive generations can lead to cognitive and behavioral problems.

Writing in Biological Psychiatry, the team revealed that a lack of omega-3 led to elevated states of anxiety and hyperactivity in second generation adolescents and affected their memory and cognition.

Professor Bita Moghaddam of the University of Pittsburg – lead author of the paper says: “We found that this dietary deficiency can compromise the behavioral health of adolescents, not only because their diet is deficient but because the parents’ diet was deficient as well. This is of particular concern because adolescence is a very vulnerable time for developing psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia and addiction”.

“We have always assumed that stress at this age is the main environmental insult that contributes to developing these conditions in at-risk individuals but this study indicates that nutrition is a big factor, too” she suggested.

Indeed, Moghaddam noted that her findings show that while omega-3 deficiency influences the behavior of both adults and adolescents, “the nature of this influence is different between the age groups”.

“We observed changes in the areas of the brain responsible for decision making and habit formation”.

For study details – Click Here!