The youngsters who took part in the pilot study - Zach, George, Rachael and Gareth, who were all classed as overweight - were given the supplements, called VegEPA, and encouraged to cut down on fatty snacks and fizzy drinks and be more active.
After three months, the children showed an improvement in reading age of well over a year, their handwriting became neater and they paid more attention in class.
They also faced a battery of tests, including a scan to look for biochemical changes in the brain, which revealed rises in a key indicator of brain development, N-Acetylaspartate (NAA).
Professor Basant Puri, lead researcher from Imperial College London, said: "The results were astonishing. In three months you might expect to see a small NAA increase. But we saw as much growth as you would normally see in three years.
"It was as if these were the brains of children three years older. It means you have more connections and greater density of nerve cells, in the same way that a tree grows more branches."
The parents of 13-year-old Gareth said they were astounded by the changes they saw in him.
Professor Puri said: "Gareth's parents told me how he had suddenly found TV boring, as he wanted to read. Three months earlier he was saying he couldn't understand people who loved books."
Although the children were asked to change their diet, there was no evidence this happened to any great extent. Professor Puri said he believed the improvements seen in concentration and behaviour were solely due to the supplement.
Fife-based nutritionist Carina Norris said she strongly believed that diet does affect behaviour. "This study is yet more back-up to all the evidence that is coming out that fish oils can have a beneficial effect on children's brains and behaviour.
"I am all for children taking a good quality fish oil supplement, not only for brain development but also for their cardiovascular health."
However she cautioned: "More research needs to be done. A lot of the studies were on a very small scale, and weren't proper clinical trials."
Professor Puri's study is featured in Mind the Fat: Does Fast Food > Slow Kids? on Thursday at 8pm on Channel 5.
BEWILDERING CHOICE WHEN LOOKING TO ADD SOMETHING EXTRA
DECIDING what vitamins to give your family can be a minefield. These are just a few of those to choose from:
Fish oils, rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, are thought to boost brain development and aid concentration, as well as being good for your heart.
Vitamin A is made by the body from beta carotene, which is found in carrots. It helps with vision in dim light, as well as boosting the immune system and helping to maintain healthy skin.
Vitamin B has been linked to increased mental alertness. It is also believed to bolster the metabolism; help maintain muscle tone and aid both digestion and circulation.
Vitamin C, readily available in many types of fruit, is thought to boost the immune system and fight viruses.
Vitamin D is commonly believed to help fight depression and cheer us up. Having a deficiency in this vitamin is linked to 17 types of cancer, as well as strokes, heart disease and osteoporosis.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory powers.
For more info on this story visit: http://www.five.tv
Note: It is important to refrigerate EPA / DHA Omega 3, 6 fatty acids supplements once they are received for the most benefits.
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