Omega-3 a possible treatment option for ADHD
A study performed by researchers at CHU Sainte-Justine University Hospital in Montreal suggests that Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) can be helpful to those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD is typically treated with medication and behavior management techniques, but fish oil supplements may prove to be a natural alternative or helpful addition to current therapies.
The study used 37 children ages six-11 with an ADHD diagnosis but no prescribed medication. Half were given Omega-3 supplements. Most children saw no significant effect after four months, but a subgroup of about 20 percent saw a decrease in agitation, impulsivity and hyperactivity and an improvement in school and social functioning. In other words, while fish oil does not benefit all children with ADHD, there is a subgroup that can find much improvement from taking it.
The study does not conclude why fish oil might help, but in evaluating the children's levels of fatty acids the researchers found that none had deficiencies. However, the children did have lower levels of precursors that metabolize Omega-3 fatty acids. After using the fish oil supplements the researchers saw a significant increase in these precursor elements.
Since there are no side effects or complications from fish oil, there is no risk in trying it to see if it helps. Medications can cause several side effects, among them dizziness and insomnia. While fish oil probably won't take the place of more traditional treatment methods, particularly medications, it may offer a helpful addition or possible alternative for some patients.
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