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Omega 3 supplements improve the n-6/3 fatty acid profile in children with ADHD

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By Jimmy Downs
 
Monday Oct 30, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study in ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders suggests that parents who have children with ADHD may want to consider letting their children use an omega 3 fatty acid supplement as the authors say the supplementation can improve the lipid profile that is associated with ADHD symptoms.

Mats Johnson and colleagues conducted the study to examine how omega 3/6 supplementation would affect the plasma fatty acid profiles in children and adolescents with ADHD and the the treatment response.

For the study, 75 children and adolescents aged 8–18 years with DSM-IV ADHD were randomly assigned an omega3/6 supplement known as Equazen eye q or placebo for three months, followed by three months of open phase omega3/6 supplements for all subjects.

Measured at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months were omega-3, omega 6, omega 6/omega 3 ratio, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two major long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid s in the blood.  Subjects who experienced more than 25% reduction in ADHD symptoms were viewed as responders.

At baseline, there was no significant differences in mean fatty acid levels between the study group and the control group or between responders and non-responders.

At 3 months, all parameters significantly changed  in the group of ADHD subjects who received the omega 3/6 supplement. 

Compared with those who did not respond, those who did at 6 months had a significantly greater increase in the omega-3 fatty acid and decrease in n-6/3 ratio at 3 and 6 months, which is desirable.

The omega 3/6 supplement had an impact on the fatty acid profile in the study group and the fatty acid change was associated with the treatment in subjects with ADHD.

The n-6/n3 ratio change in the blood was most significant in responders.

Nutritionists believe that intake of too much omega 6 fatty acids  and too little omega 3 fatty acids is not healthy.     Omega 6 is found high in vegetable oils like corn oil and soy oil whereas omega 3 is found high in cold water fish oil such as salmon fish oil.  The ratio of omega 6/3 is greater than 15 in Americans.  An ideal ratio may be around 4.

Studies reported that high omega-3 fatty acid intake may help children with ADHD. Some other nutrients may also have an effect on the ADHD symptoms.

The study suggests that taking omega 3 supplements can effectively improve the fatty acid profile which may further improve the symptoms in children and adolescents with ADHD.

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