The Omega 3’s found in fatty fish and fish oil supplements have been well studied and linked to a number of health benefits. However, one of the most promising studies suggests that giving Omega 3 to children with ADHD may actually help to reduce some of the symptoms of this condition.
While more studies need to be done, the omega 3 and ADHD connection is welcome news to parents searching for alternative ways to treat their child’s ADHD rather than using those prescription medications with their negative side effects. While fish oil may not provide a viable treatment for ADHD all on its own, combined with other natural treatments it just may prove to be highly effective.
Omega 3s and the Brain
Scientists have long known that the brain is made up in large part by omega 3 fatty acids. Which is why when they realized that most people were not getting enough Omega 3s to maintain overall health, they began doing research into how omega 3 supplements could aid in the treatment of various brain disorders from memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, to depression and mental disorder such as Schizophrenia.
The more studies they did, the more they discovered just how big a role omega 3s could play in brain health so it was a natural step for some researchers to begin wondering if omega 3 fatty acids could aid in the treatment of ADHD.
Generally Studies Suggest that Fish Oil Supplements Could be Helpful in the Treatment of ADHD
There have been several studies done that suggested that omega 3s might be useful in the treatment of ADHD. Studies showed that taking fish oil supplements that contained healthy levels of DHA and EPA help to improve both focus and memory in older people.
Other studies found that omega-3 supplements could help to stem aggressiveness in young adults in prison, and still other studies have proven or at least suggested that omega-3s can help to regulate mood swings, and help to ease depression, all of which are symptoms experienced by people with ADHD. But first, researchers needed to know if children with ADHD were more likely to need omega 3 fatty acids than those who did not have this condition.
Researchers Found Lower Levels of Omega 3s in Children with ADHD
Studies were done and researchers did find lower levels of omega 3s (as well as zinc and magnesium) in children with ADHD than in those children that did not have this condition. These findings combined with general studies suggesting that fish oil supplements might be helpful in the treatment of ADHD lead research to begin to see if in fact, omega 3 supplements could aid in the treatment of ADHD.
While at this point in time, only a handful of ADHD and omega 3 studies have been done the results have been extremely promising, especially those studies that use higher levels of fish oil (1 gram or more). These studies suggest that giving children omega 3 supplements improves focus, behavior, and reduces aggression. More importantly, these changes were seen in children who were taking medication for their condition as well as those who were not.
While more studies need to be done, at this point in time there seems little doubt that omega 3 supplements may reduce ADHD symptoms at least in some children.
Not only do these studies suggest that omega 3s may help to treat ADHD, but it also at least raises questions as whether or not ADHD cases may actually be reduced if pregnant women maintain healthy levels of omega 3 fatty acids throughout their pregnancy. While it may take years to get the answer to this question and others, one thing is sure. Omega 3 fatty acids are good for your overall health so, giving these supplements to your child with ADHD won’t hurt and just may actually help to reduce the symptoms of their condition.