Role of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the management of Egyptian children with autism

Clin Biochem. 2008 Sep;41(13):1044-8. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2008.05.013. Epub 2008 Jun 12.


Objective: Estimation of free polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in blood and evaluation of behavior of autistic children before and after taking fish oil (Efalex) were performed.

Design and methods: 30 autistic children (18 males and 12 females) aged 3-11 years and 30 healthy children as control group were included in this study. Tandem mass spectrometry and CARS were used to estimate the free PUFAs from dried blood spot and to evaluate the autistic behavior respectively.

Results: Before taking Efalex, linolenic acid showed a significant reduction (71%), followed by docosahexaenoic acid (65%) and arachidonic acid (45%), while linoleic acid was the least affected PUFA (32%). After taking Efalex, 66% of autistic children showed clinical and biochemical improvement, linolenic acid and docosahexaenoic acid showed the highest levels after Efalex supplementation.

Conclusion: PUFA supplementation may play an important role in ameliorating the autistic behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Arachidonic Acid / blood
  • Autistic Disorder / diet therapy*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / drug effects
  • Child, Preschool
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / blood
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / blood
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fish Oils / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Linoleic Acid / blood
  • Male
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid / blood


  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Fish Oils
  • Plant Oils
  • efalex
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Arachidonic Acid
  • Linoleic Acid