May 24, 2013
The benefits of increased omega-3 fats in our diet have been extensively studied over the last several decades. They have shown to protect against physical pain, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, autoimmune disease, and cancer. There is no surprise that omega-3’s have shown to also decrease the symptoms of ADHD. Multiple studies in children have compared the blood values of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid levels. The children with the higher levels of omega-3’s were found to have increased levels of reading, comprehension, spelling, and vocabulary and decreased levels of shyness, anxiety, and oppositional behavior.
Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with lower levels of inflammation while most omega-6 fatty acids are typically associated with higher levels of inflammation. One of the hallmarks of good health is low levels of inflammation. Although there are numerous ways to measure inflammatory rates one of the most sensitive is measuring the omega-3:6 ratio since these are the precursors to many of the inflammatory and anti-inflammatory chemicals in the body. Sadly, most Americans have extremely elevated levels of inflammatory chemicals which are highly correlated with most, if not all, diseases.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids, cognition and literacy in children with ADHD with and without learning difficulties. J Child Health Care. 2011 Dec;15(4):299-311.
Eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids, cognition, and behavior in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Nutrition. 2012 Jun;28(6):670-7.
Effects of an open-label pilot study with high-dose EPA/DHA concentrates on plasma phospholipids and behavior in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Nutr J. 2007 Jul 13;6:16.