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Fish Oil Helps ADHD
Fish Oil Helps ADHD
A new study featured in the April 2012 issue of the journal Nutrition adds to a growing body of evidence linking essential fatty acids and optimal brain function in children. Australian researchers published their data showing that children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who had increased levels of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA in their blood also had improved attention and literacy, along with fewer behavioral issues, compared to children with low levels of DHA.
This study featured 90 children between the ages of 9 and 12 with diagnosed ADHD. The kids were randomly assigned to receive either 2,000 mg of fish oil that contained 108 mg of DHA, fish oil that contained 1,032 mg of DHA or safflower oil that did not contain DHA.
After four months, parents of the children who received the most DHA observed less oppositional behavior (being defiant, disobedient or argumentative) and improved reading skills. Parents also reported less hyperactivity and overall improvement in ADHD symptoms in the children with higher levels of DHA in their bloodstream.
“This latest study supports previous findings showing the therapeutic effects of essential fatty acid use in children with behavioral and attention issues,” says naturopathic pediatrician and Wellness Times Editorial Advisor Matthew Baral, ND. “Breast milk has a high concentration of DHA and is consumed during the most formative months and years of a human’s brain growth and development. The need for this nutrient in those with less than optimal neurological function is obvious.”
The researchers noted that the most benefit was seen in children who had ADHD along with additional learning difficulties. It is believed that this is the first study to evaluate essential fatty acid supplementation in children with ADHD using a control (participants who did not receive the supplements).