Omega-3 fatty acids have been known to reduce breast cancer risk, enhance memory in young adults, and even slow down the biological effects of aging. Lack of these fatty acids in adults, however, may lead to cases of anxiety and hyperactivity in their teenage children, reports Science Daily.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh worked with laboratory mice that mimicked the omega-3 deficiencies of adults who were born in the ‘60s and ‘70s. They observed both adult mice and their adolescent offspring, as they underwent a series of behavioral tasks involving learning, memory, decision-making, anxiety, and hyperactivity.

While the mice seemed to be physically healthy, the second-generation rodents with omega-3 deficiencies showed increased rates of anxieties and hyperactivity, and had slower learning capabilities.

"We found that this dietary deficiency can compromise the behavioral health of adolescents, not only because their diet is deficient but because their parents' diet was deficient as well. This is of particular concern because adolescence is a very vulnerable time for developing psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia and addiction," lead author Bita Moghaddam explains.

This highlights the importance of a well-balanced diet. To make sure you get a daily dose of omega-3, experts recommend eating fish and shellfish, nuts, and algae.

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(Photo by Gwen via Flickr Creative Commons)

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