Children diagnosed with ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) may benefit from taking supplements of fish oil. Fish oil is associated with a long list of health benefits. It can also be a good idea to give a daily supplement of omega 3 fatty acids to children who are hyperactive.
In an article in the October edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, two researchers working for the Yale Child Study Centre conclude in a meta-analysis of 10 scientific studies with 699 children that fish oil supplementation demonstrates a small but statistically significant effect in improving ADHD symptoms.
Safe to use
The researchers pointed out that the current drugs used to ameliorate hyperactive symptoms were more effective than fish oil. However, fish oil is not associated with the side effects typically observed in prescription drugs. The researchers note that in mild to moderate cases of ADHD supplemental fish oil may be used to improve the effectiveness of conventional treatment, or fish oil supplementation may be a viable option for those who do not want to treat their children with chemicals.
Effects of omega 3
Omega 3 fatty acids work in several different ways. For use in ADHD, it is the fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in particular that seems to be effective although the exact mechanism is unknown. For example, this type of essential fatty acid has anti-inflammatory properties that can protect brain cells. In addition, omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to have a positive effect on brain levels of two important neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine. The brain's serotonin levels affect our mood, while dopamine is important for learning, motion control, mood, thought and memory.(1)
Choosing the right fish oil
Pharma Nord's preparations, Omega 3 Fish Oil and Omega 3 for Kids, are a good choice for long-term consumption. First of all, the fish oil is purified with one of the world's leading purification techniques (PureMax™) that ensures the lowest possible levels of pollutants such as heavy metals and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), that occur naturally in fish. PureMax technology purifies the fish oil to the point where the remaining levels of such toxins are substantially lower than the threshold levels set by health authorities to be safe for human consumption.
There have been reports of positive experiences with Pycnogenol for children with ADHD and adults with ADD (lack of attention). It is said to improve the brain's blood circulation and increase the production of the neurotransmitter NO2 which improves memory and learning ability. Although there is not much research on this topic, there may be yet other mechanisms of action. (2)
1.Ref: Bloch MH, et al. Omega3 Fatty Acid Supplementation for the treatment of children With Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptomatology: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 2011;50(10):991-1000.
2. Heimann SW. Pycnogenol for ADHD. Letter. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 1999:38(4):357-8.