Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Boys with ADHD

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New research is coming to light that may provide more information on what supplement is most effective for boys suffering from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). A new study, completed in the Netherlands, shows that boys with ADHD who took Omega-3 supplements saw an improvement in their symptoms.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is often diagnosed in childhood. Forty to sixty percent of children diagnosed with ADHD will carry the disorder into their adult years. According to a study done by the Mayo Clinic, boys are much more likely than girls to have ADHD.   While the basic symptoms of ADHD are the same regardless of gender, males with ADHD suffer more prominently from impulse control and lack of self-control. There is also a higher instance of oppositional defiance in males with ADHD as opposed to females with ADHD. This kind of behavior in males makes it difficult for their social adjustment, due to peers not understanding their behaviors and becoming frustrated.

The study was done with a group of 80 boys between the ages of 8-14, approximately half of those boys having a diagnosis of ADHD. Some of the boys were given plain margarine and some of the boys were given margarine with Omega-3 fatty acids added in. The boys ate their respective margarines every day for sixteen weeks.   The boys who had the Omega-3 laced margarine noticed an improvement in their ability to pay attention, regardless of whether or not they had an ADHD diagnosis. These are promising results for boys who have ADHD as well as those that have some of the symptoms of ADHD but may not have the full form of the disorder.

The results of this study, however, relied heavily on the observations of the parents of the boys participating in the study. In order to get more conclusive evidence and more specific data, it might be beneficial to repeat the study with a fresh group of boys, and this time collect information from not only the parents of the boys but also individuals that have experience with children such as teachers and coaches.   It is encouraging to see this effect from Omega-3 fatty acids, and it’s simple and safe to try for the same effect on your own. Omega-3 fatty acids are not only safe but have excellent health benefits, including treating rheumatoid arthritis, boosting heart health, lowering inflammation related to asthma and other inflammatory conditions, and even depression.

Some studies are even beginning to show that Omega-3 fatty acids can slow down or even prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Omega-3s clearly affect the brain in some way, including the development of human brains while still in the womb.

This study is an encouraging one, giving hope to boys with ADHD who want to control their symptoms to better function in school, social situations and life in general. While more testing needs to be done to ascertain why Omega-3s affects ADHD and attentions spans, the data so far is promising and could lead to further discoveries.

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