Omega 3 can help children with ADD, experts say

Study in the University of Gothenburg
Supplements of the fatty acids omega 3 and 6 can help children and adolescents who have a certain kind of ADHD.
Supplements of the fatty acids omega 3 and 6 can help children and adolescents who have a certain kind of ADHD.

These are the findings of a dissertation at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.

Between three to six percent of all school age children are estimated to have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). ADHD is a disorder that entails a difficulty controlling impulses and temper, sitting still, waiting, or being attentive for more than short periods at a time. There are various kinds of ADHD where disturbances in attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity have varying degrees of prominence.

ADHD is often treated with stimulant medications, which are effective for most, but do not work for everyone.

Relevant improvement

In this study, 75 children and adolescents with ADHD were given either the fatty acids omega 3 and 6 or a placebo over three months, and then they were all given omega 3/6 over three months. The study was conducted double-blind, which means that neither the researchers nor the participants were allowed to know whether they received the active capsules until afterwards.

"For the group as a whole, we did not see any major improvement, but in 35 percent of the children and adolescents who have the inattentive subtype of ADHD called ADD, the symptoms improved so much that we can talk about a clinically relevant improvement," says Mats Johnson, doctoral student at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg.

The levels of omega 3 and omega 6 were also measured in blood samples, where those who had a clear improvement of their symptoms also showed a better balance between the blood levels of these two fatty acids. These omega fatty acids are found in hemp oil at a big level.

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