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Review
. 2018;58(15):2617-2631.
doi: 10.1080/10408398.2017.1338245. Epub 2017 Aug 31.

Dietary DHA, Bioaccessibility, and Neurobehavioral Development in Children

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Review

Dietary DHA, Bioaccessibility, and Neurobehavioral Development in Children

Carlos Cardoso et al. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. .

Abstract

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a key nutritional n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid and needs to be supplied by the human diet. High levels of DHA intake appear to reduce the risk of depression, bipolar disorder, and mood disorders. On the basis of these connections between DHA and neurological health, this paper reviews what is currently known about DHA and children neurodevelopment as well as the benefits of DHA intake to prevention of autism and behavior disorders through a selective and representative revision of different papers ranging from pure observational studies to randomized controlled trials (RCTs). This review also highlights the issue of DHA bioaccessibility and its implications to the performance of studies. As main conclusions, it can be mentioned that high DHA intake may prevent autism disorder. However, more studies are required to strengthen the connection between autism and dietary DHA. Regarding behavioral disorders, the evidence is also contradictory, thereby raising the need of further studies. From all screened studies on autism, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and other disorders, it can be concluded that study samples should be larger for greater statistical significance and RCTs should be more carefully designed.

Keywords: DHA; bioaccessibility/bioavailability; children; diet; neurobehavioral development.

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