Fish oil-supplementation from 9 to 12 months of age affects infant attention in a free-play test and is related to change in blood pressure

Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2013 Oct;89(5):327-33. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2013.08.007. Epub 2013 Aug 31.


Introduction: This intervention examined whether fish-oil-supplementation in late infancy modifies free-play test scores and if this is related to blood pressure (BP) and mean RR interval.

Patients and methods: 83 Danish 9-month-old infants were randomized to ±fish oil (FO) (3.4±1.1mL/d) for 3months and 61 of these completed the free-play-test before and after the intervention.

Results: Most of the free-play scores changed during the intervention, but the intervention affected only the number of looks away from the toy, which was increased in +FO and decreased in -FO (p=0.037). The increased numbers of looks away were associated with an increase in erythrocyte eicosapentaenoic acid (r=0.401, p=0.017, n=35) and were also associated with a decrease in systolic-BP (r=-0.511, p<0.001, n=52).

Conclusions: The results indicate that n-3 fatty acid intake also in late infancy can influence brain development and that the cognitive and cardiovascular effects may be related.

Keywords: ANS; BP; CNS; Central nervous function; Cognitive development; DHA; Docosahexaenoic acid; ECG; EPA; FA%; FO; HR; Infant diet; LCPUFA; RBC; autonomic nervous system; blood pressure (systolic SBP & diastolic DBP); central nervous system; docosahexaenoic acid; eicosapentaenoic acid; electro-cardiogram; fatty acids given as area percentage; fish oil; heart rate; long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid; n-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids; red blood cell.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Attention / drug effects*
  • Attention / physiology
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / physiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Fish Oils / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Psychological Tests


  • Fish Oils