The Role of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Supplementation in Childhood: A Review
Marco M. Ciccone, Pietro Scicchitano, Michele Gesualdo, Annapaola Zito, Santa Carbonara, Gabriella Ricci, Francesca Cortese and Paola Giordano
Affiliation: Piazza G. Cesare 11 - 70124 Bari Italy.
Dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFAs) benefits are not clearly defined in childhood
although already well-defined in adults. Recent studies have demonstrated their positive effects on bronchial asthma,
neuropsychiatric disorders and cognitive brain function in childhood. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated as a relationship
between the increased incidence of childhood obesity and the role of ω-3 PUFAs in reducing the metabolic and vascular
alterations induced by the fat accumulation since young age. Such relationship could be more important in prevention of
future cardiovascular events. In fact, ω-3 PUFAs could improve endothelial function and structure since childhood. By
considering endothelial dysfunction as a well-known early marker of atherosclerosis, its amelioration in the beginning
years of individuals’ life will certainly reduce the cardiovascular risk profile in adulthood.
Nevertheless, their use is limited by several factors, such as the lack of studies in children and the awful taste of the
products enriched with ω-3 PUFAs, although several patents have managed to overcome such defects and developed the
use of these molecules.
This paper is a literature study and patents analysis aiming to explore key issues regarding ω-3 PUFAs administration in
childhood in order to take into account its routine intake daily. However, it is well-established that further studies are
needed to endorse the promising results outlined by literature analysis
Keywords: Cardiovascular risk, childhood, diet, endothelial function, omega-3, PUFAs.
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