Omega-3s Help Boys With ADHD

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add omega-3sBoys with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) might benefit from omega-3 fats, according to a study from the University Medical Center Utecht in The Netherlands. The researchers recruited 40 boys between the ages of 8- and 14-years-old who had been diagnosed with ADHD, as well as 39 controls. All were asked to eat 10 grams of margarine every day. Half of the boys in each group ate margarine with 650 milligrams of omega-3s, while the rest consumed plain margarine. Parents were asked to fill out standard questionnaires that assessed the child’s behavior for signs of ADHD and MRI brain scans were taken of the children. At the end of four months, those boys who consumed the omega-3-fortified margarine showed improved attention, compared to those eating plain margarine. The researchers commented that, “…[omega-3s] seem to  improve attention in individuals both with and without ADHD, so it sounds like there might be some general benefit to the brain.” It is unclear how omega-3s benefit ADHD, but the researchers speculate that because these fats, especially DHA in fatty fish, are important building blocks in the brain and brain cell membranes, it is likely they facilitate transmission of neural signals.

Bos D, Oranje B, Veerhoek E, et al: Reduced symptoms of inattention after dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in boys with and without attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology 2015;March 19th.

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