Diets minus omega-3s tied to anxiety in offspring
Diets lacking in omega-3 fatty acids – found in fish, eggs and grass-fed livestock – could affect the memories and cognitive development of the next generation. According to research from the University of Pittsburgh, dietary shortcomings may lead to anxiety or hyperactivity during the teen years of the offspring of under-nourished people. Using rodent models, the researchers found that insufficient omega-3s could can compromise behavioral health, not only in the people themselves, but in their children as well.
This study was performed on rats, where the researchers examined a "second generation" of omega-3 deficient diets. The researchers administered a set of behavioral tasks to study the learning and memory, decision making, anxiety, and hyperactivity of both adults and adolescents. Although subjects appeared to be in general good physical health, there were behavioral deficiencies in adolescents that were more pronounced in second-generation subjects with omega-3 deficiencies. Overall, these adolescents were more anxious and hyperactive, learned at a slower rate, and had impaired problem-solving abilities
The researchers sought to explore how dietary factors could influence behavioral health across generations. The results indicate that diets today do not merely affect us in the short-term, but could also hurt or benefit offspring as well.