Alpha Omega 3 Fatty Acids and ADHD

Tess Thompson

ADHD, commonly associate with children, is one of the most difficult conditions to be identified. With the advancement in the knowledge of this condition, it is now possible for the doctors and the clinicians to diagnose this condition more precisely. However, there is no single test and the experts are working towards identifying a conclusive test for ADHD. For ADHD treatment, doctors use a combination of medicines and behavior therapy. Nowadays, many parents are beginning to prefer natural medicines for ADHD treatment for their children.

There are many possible causes that have been linked to the occurrence of ADHD. One of such possible reasons is low level of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in the body, especially omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are called essential fatty acids since the human body cannot synthesize these and hence have to be taken in through the diet.

Experts have linked this with different behavioral disorders including ADHD. Some clinical studies have also concluded that low levels of omega-3 fatty acids are linked to the occurrence of ADHD.

Though the exact mechanism of this relation is not clear, it is postulated that these fatty acids, especially DHA, are a component of the membranes and hence these are crucial for maintenance of structural and functional integrity of the brain and central nervous system. Experts opine that at the time of birth, the brain weight is 70% of an adult brain, 15% brain growth happens during pregnancy and the rest 15% grows during the preschool years.

Hence, it is important that pregnant and nursing women consume the required amount of omega-3 fatty acids. It is also proposed that intake of these fatty acids during preschool years may have a beneficial effect in prevention of ADHD.

Scientists have conducted clinical trials with supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet to study its benefits on neurological conditions including ADHD. The sources of omega-3 fatty acids used in these studies were flax oil, olive oil and fish oil. All of these studies reported that supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet resulted in an improvement in the ADHD condition. One clinical study compared the relative benefits of olive oil, flax oil and fish oil. It was reported that fish oil was most effective of these three options studied.

Though larger trials are now needed to establish the optimum formulation and the dosages of omega-3 fatty acids required, given the relative safety and general health benefits, these offer a complimentary approach to the established treatments. Omega-3 fatty acids offer promising benefits of being one of the natural remedies for ADHD.

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