The feasibility of the “omega kid” study protocol: A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial investigating the effect of omega-3 supplementation on self-regulation in preschool-aged children

Lauren A. Roach, Mitchell K. Byrne, Steven J. Howard, Stuart J. Johnstone, Marijka Batterham, Ian M.R. Wright, Anthony D. Okely, Renate H.M. de Groot, Inge S.M. van der Wurff, Alison Jones, Barbara J. Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Self-regulation, the regulation of behaviour in early childhood, impacts children’s success at school and is a predictor of health, wealth, and criminal outcomes in adulthood. Self-regulation may be optimised by dietary supplementation of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFAs). The aim of the “Omega Kid” study is to investigate the feasibility of a protocol to investigate whether n-3 LCPUFA supplementation enhances self-regulation in preschool-aged children. The protocol assessed involved a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial of 12 weeks duration, with an intervention of 1.6 g of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per day (0.3 g EPA and 1.3 g DHA) in a microencapsulated powder compared to placebo. Children (n = 78; 40 boys and 38 girls) aged 3–5 years old were recruited and randomly allocated to the treatment (n = 39) or placebo group (n = 39). The HS–Omega-3 Index® served as a manipulation check on the delivery of either active (n-3 LCPUFAs) or placebo powders. Fifty-eight children (76%) completed the intervention (28–30 per group). Compliance to the study protocol was high, with 92% of children providing a finger-prick blood sample at baseline and high reported-adherence to the study intervention (88%). Results indicate that the protocol is feasible and may be employed in an adequately powered clinical trial to test the hypothesis that n-3 LCPUFA supplementation will improve the self-regulation of preschool-aged children.

Original languageEnglish
Article number213
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalNutrients
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

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