A study published online in PLOS-One Journal found that supplementation with 600 mg algal DHA for 16 weeks improves reading and behavior in healthy school-aged children with low reading scores. The Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) Oxford Learning and Behavior (DOLAB) trial is the first large, randomized and placebo-controlled study demonstrating the benefits of DHA in reading and behavior among healthy school children.
In an analysis of 224 children with baseline reading scores below the 20th percentile, algal DHA supplementation significantly improved reading. Reading was also significantly improved in the subgroup of 105 children with baseline reading scores below the 10th percentile. Reading performance was evaluated using a standardized word reading test, The British Ability Scales (BAS II).
When comparing reading ages, results from the DOLAB Study also found that supplementation with algal DHA led to an additional gain in reading age; supplementation with 600 mg algal DHA for 16 weeks led to an additional 0.8 month gain in reading age in children with baseline readings scores below the 20th percentile. In addition, for children with baseline readings scores below the 10th percentile, algal DHA supplementation led to an additional 1.9 month gain in reading age.
This study comes at a time when many school-aged children lack sufficient reading skills. According to the most recent report card by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), many school-aged children struggle with reading, the most fundamental educational skill. Because early reading skills provide the foundation for children’s academic success, and because poor readers are not only at risk of developing academic problems, but also social and behavioral problems as well, identifying strategies to improve reading is imperative.