Omega-3s truly can help alleviate symptoms of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), according to a new review of previous research published in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment.
Five percent of American children have ADHD, according to the American Psychiatric Association, though other studies have indicated a higher and growing prevalence of the condition. Boys are twice as likely as girls to be diagnosed. About two-thirds of kids diagnosed receive prescriptions for stimulants, like Adderall or Ritalin, which can help, but can also lead to addiction, anxiety and occasionally psychosis, according to a New York Times story about concerns among the medical community about over-diagnosis and overmedication.
In the new review of recent studies, researchers from the Netherlands analyzed 25 studies published between 2000 and 2015 that examined the relationship between omega-3s and ADHD. They found that although some of the studies are contradictory, overall, the evidence demonstrated that omegas can successfully treat ADHD symptoms. Tolerability of the omegas was high and only mild side effects were reported.
“Treatment could be more effective in patients with mild forms of ADHD,” noted the study’s authors. “Moreover, the dosage of stimulant medication could be reduced when used in combination with ω-3 PUFA supplements. Further studies are necessary to investigate underlying mechanisms that can lead to a reduction of ADHD symptoms due to ω-3 PUFA treatments and also to determine the optimal concentrations of ω-3 PUFAs, whether used as single treatment or in combination with other medication.”