Assessment of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Status in Omani Autistic Children

Saturday, May 19, 2012
Sheraton Hall (Sheraton Centre Toronto)
11:00 AM
M. I. Waly1, Y. M. Al-Farsi1, M. Al-Sharbati1, M. M. Al-Khaduri1, A. Ali1, M. M. Essa1, A. Ouhtit1, O. A. Al-Farsi1, M. Al-Shafaee1 and R. Deth2, (1)Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman, (2)Northeastern University, Boston, MA, United States

Low intake of omega-3 fatty acids during early childhood has been associated with neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In Oman, westernization in food choices has been adopted by many families on the expenses of consuming traditional foods that were rich in omega-3 fatty acids.


This study was conducted to evaluate the daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids [eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)] and their serum levels in Omani autistic children.


A case-control study included 40 children with ASD and 40 their age and gender matched controls. EPA and DHA were measured in the sera of all children enrolled in this study, using HPLC-modified technique. Mothers of the children were interviewed using a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. The daily dietary intake of EPA and DHA were analyzed using food processor software.


The serum DHA levels of ASD children were significantly (P < 0.05) lower than control children. Whereas the serum EPA levels were comparable among both groups. The daily intake of DHA and EPA for ASD children was less than control children and less than the recommended daily reference intake levels. The frequency of consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids was similar among all children with no statistically significant difference (P>0.05).


Low status of DHA was observed among ASD children in Oman. DHA deficiency might predispose ASD children to an impaired cellular membrane fluidity which is associated with an increased risk of ASD as reported in many studies in developed nations. Omega-3 fatty acids supplements are recommended for the treatment and management of ASD.

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