Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Reduce Symptoms of ADHD in Children

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental health disorders affecting children. Although it is most prevalent in children, ADHD can persist into adulthood. A person with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has differences in brain activity and development which affects the person's attention, focus, self-control, and ability to sit still. There is a natural remedy that is shown to improve the symptoms of ADHD and the details are as follows.

Numerous studies have shown a modest beneficial effect with omega 3 fatty acid supplementation in children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Symptom scores for hyperactivity and impulsivity on commonly-used symptom scoring instruments have been documented to improve across various studies. In addition, a trend toward low blood levels of omega 3 fatty acids has been found in children with ADHD.

Method

It has been hypothesized that not only do people who eat Western diets consume inadequate omega 3 fatty acids but that in children with ADHD proper fatty acid metabolism may be impaired.
There is no scientifically determined dose of omega 3 fatty acids to treat ADHD but usually between 1 and 2 grams is used. This can be obtained by eating foods high in omega 3 fatty acids, especially fish, or by taking a supplement.

Why It May Work

Omega 3 fatty acids play a vital role in the central nervous system (CNS) including the brain and spinal cord. The brain is composed of over 60% fat which is obtained from the diet. The composition of the diet can directly influence the composition of the CNS and cellular membranes and proper content of omega 3 fatty acids seems to provide the right level of fluidity and rigidity in cellular membranes for proper functioning.

Omega 3 fatty acids are also thought to be involved in the regulation of dopamine release and function in the prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia. ADHD is associated with low levels of dopamine in these areas of the brain.

Precautions

Supplementation of omega 3 fatty acids in ADHD is not appropriate as a primary treatment and should always be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional.

Do not overdose on omega 3 fatty acids. Excessive use of omega 3 fatty acids may impair proper blood clotting. Avoid use if you are taking any blood thinners (anticoagulants) such as heparin, aspirin, warfarin, or dabigatran. Avoid use prior to surgeries or dental work.

Be sure to select a high-quality supplement. Poor quality fish oil supplements may turn brown from oxidization, have a fishy odor, induce burping, and cause an upset stomach.

If you decide to obtain omega 3 fatty acids from dietary sources be sure to consume low mercury-containing fish and limit intake of fish that contain higher quantities of this toxic metal.

Tell your healthcare professional that you are taking this supplement as it may interact with some medications.

Do not take without the supervision of your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Photo: Pexels

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