Omega-3 fatty acids have been touted by many as an effective supplemental treatment for ADD. While there is no conclusive scientific evidence at this time to support this claim, there are many supportive studies and a great deal of anecdotal evidence that have shown promising results for treating ADD. It worthwhile to investigate and consider increasing the amount of omega-3s to your diet, particularly the EPA and DHA forms.
Omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), essential to the health of your body, including your brain. In fact, your brain is about 60 percent fat, with Omega-3s being the most abundant fat in your brain. Moreover, omega-3 is critical for effective communication and transmission between brain cells.
Yet, in western industrial countries sufficient amounts Omega-3 are often lacking in diets.
OMEGA-3 and ADD
It is true that studies have not conclusively determined the connection between levels of Omega-3 and ADD.
However, there have been many studies with children showing a reduction in ADD symptoms. Andrew Stoll, M.D., highlights one such trial done with 100 school age kids at 12 different schools in Durham, England in his book, The Omega 3 Connection. In this case, there was a significant reduction in hyperactive-impulsive behavior for the group that took fish oil supplements as compared to the control group.
In addition, another study carried out by French scientists demonstrated that rats deficient in omega-3 fatty acids had more receptors for the neurotransmitter serotonin and a corresponding decrease in dopamine in the frontal cortex. When they gave the rats an omega-3 rich diet, the rats were more attentive and completed the task, which was to go through a maze to reach their reward, while ignoring an extra run way. The rats with diets deficient in omega-3 took longer and were more distracted.
This is certainly interesting, given that it seems that the impulsivity problems found in ADD appears to be related to low levels of dopamine in the brain.
Omega-3 is a dietary essentials, which means, while it is necessary for human health, the body cannot make them. So, you have to get it through food or supplements.
In order it increase your level of EPA and DHA omega-3s fatty fish are recommended, such as anchovies, carp, halibut, herring, lake trout, mackerel, salmon, striped sea bass, tuna (albacore), and whitefish.
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times per week
Since it is challenging to get adequate level of EPA and DHA from your current diet, you may choose to take a fish oil supplement.
This is a popular option for those who are seeking to increase the level of omega-3, particularly EPA and DHA, in their diet. The advantage, of course, is that it easier to get it in a concentrated form and in the correct dose.
It is important that supplement is pharmacy grade and distilled to ensure that harmful contaminants are removed.
Before taking a fish oil supplement, it is also important to consult with your healthcare provider, as there is the potential for fish oil supplements to exacerbate a preexisting condition or interfere with some medications. In addition, your healthcare provider can help you determine the best dose.
As with any treatment for ADD that is not fully supported by the science, yet, it may make it challenging to decide to use Omega 3 supplement to augment your current treatment. As long as you embark on a course of treatment with the support of a healthcare provider, the anecdotal is strong enough to suggest that it is worthwhile to see if it might help you, too.
Perhaps this article brought up more questions for you. I encourage you to seek out the answers so that you can make an informed decision regarding your treatment plan.