ADHD : Fish Oil & Behavior

The omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) such as those found in fish oil play a key role in normal brain function, and they have a calming effect on many kids with hyperactivity and ADHD. In fact, many children with ADHD have nonbehavioral signs of essential fat deficiency, including dry skin, asthma, eczema, and excessive thirst. Interestingly, boys have a higher requirement for essential fatty acids than girls, and are also more likely to have ADHD.

Researchers suggests that kids with ADHD may be deficient in essential fats because their need is higher, their absorption of these fats is poor, or they're less efficient at converting these fats into prostaglandins, which affect brain function. This makes supplementation with EFAs critical.

Research finds that supplementation with the essential fats eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) plus the omega-6 fat gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) has been shown to reduce ADHD symptoms such as anxiety, attention difficulties, and general behavior problems. In a separate study, kids aged 8 to 12 who had ADHD symptoms and learning difficulties who received fish oil supplements showed improvements in both learning and behavior within 12 weeks.

A wide variety of children's EFA formulas are available, including small capsules, chewables, and liquid formulas in fruit flavors to please even the pickiest palates. An omega-3 supplement will support not only brain health but also vision and overall wellness. Look for a formula that states on the label that it's tested for freshness, potency, and purity and found to be free of PCBs, mercury, and other contaminants.