Vitamins and Minerals

Omega-3 (Fish Oil) For ADHD

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What science says about Omega-3 (Fish Oil) For ADHD

Scientists and medical experts have different opinions on whether or not taking omega-3 for ADHD is beneficial to treat ADHD patients.

On one hand, some experts believe that omega-3 supplementation helps improve concentration and manages hyperactivity in people with ADHD. This is because omega-3 can regulate the imbalance of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which play a role in managing learning, mood, sleep, and behavior.

Multiple studies have shown that people with ADHD have low levels of omega-3 in their blood. When they took supplements of omega-3, their ADHD symptoms improved because omega-3 helped improve nerve cell communication.

However, other medical experts argue that research on omega-3 fatty acids for ADHD has produced mixed results. They call for more research to better understand how omega-3 helps treat or reduce ADHD symptoms.


Opinion in favor of taking Omega-3 to treat ADHD

Supporters of omega-3 consumption for ADHD believe that this polyunsaturated fat plays an important role in treating the condition.

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are two omega-3 fatty acids that can regulate dopamine levels in the brain. They also improve attention and learning ability. Plus, EPA and DHA strengthen the cell membrane so it can take up serotonin properly, which improves mood and behavior.

Studies have shown that omega-3 helps treat ADHD symptoms. In the systematic review, “Critical appraisal of omega-3 fatty acids in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder treatment,” researchers compared the results of studies conducted on ADHD between the years 2000-2015 on children between the ages of 6 and 13. It indicated that omega-3 benefited individuals with ADHD who have lower levels of omega-3 in their blood.

Edward Hallowell M.D., a child and adult psychiatrist and ADHD expert, recommends omega-3 as supplements for people with ADHD. He explains that schoolchildren with ADHD who received omega-3 supplements showed improvements in behavior, reading, and spelling.

Skeptical views about the benefits of Omega-3 for ADHD

Healthcare experts agree that people need omega-3 in small amounts to maintain overall health and brain function. However, opponents of omega fatty acid consumption for omega-3 believe there is not enough evidence to support the claim that omega-3 helps treat ADHD or improves its symptoms.

Some systematic reviews that examined the link between omega-3 consumption and ADHD produced contradictory results. According to the review, “Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) supplements for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents,” some patients did improve after they took omega-3. However, “overall there was little evidence” that omega-3 consumption helped with ADHD.

Some experts try to explain the differences in the data by saying that some people with ADHD may be too old to benefit from omega-3 supplementation.

Other experts add that ADHD patients who took omega-3 supplements may already have high levels of omega-3 in their blood, but not in their brains. They cannot absorb omega-3 supplements as effectively as those who don’t have ADHD.

Therefore, even if ADHD patients take omega-3 supplements, they might not help their symptoms. That might explain why some studies suggest that omega-3 supplementation does not affect those who have ADHD.

Furthermore, scientists do not quite understand how omega fatty acids work to treat ADHD yet. They call for more research on the different omega fatty acids, their dosages, and their possible role in ADHD treatment. They stress the need for higher quality research on omega-3 supplements and call for studies with larger sample sizes and better methodologies that reduce the risk of bias.

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