Alternative ADHD Treatment: Fish Oil

Research on alternative ADHD treatments suggests a daily fish oil capsule can help curb the symptoms of attention deficit without medication.

Research suggests that fish oil can help curb the symptoms of ADHD. ADDitude magazine

Supplementation with omega 3's is the only sensible way forward.

Paul Montgomery, University of Oxford

Could a daily fish oil capsule help curb the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD ADHD) in children and adults?

Quite possibly, suggests the latest research - including a study published in the May 5, 2005, issue of Pediatrics. "A lack of certain polyunsaturated fatty acids may contribute to dyslexia and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder," reports one of the study's authors, Paul Montgomery, D.Phil., a researcher in the psychiatry department at the University of Oxford in England.

For the study, schoolchildren were given fish oil supplements rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) for a period of three months. The children showed significant improvements in behavior, reading, and spelling.

Given this finding, Montgomery has become a proponent of fish-oil supplements for children with ADD. "People would be lucky if they could get their kids' EFA levels up sufficiently by diet alone," says Montgomery. "I think supplementation with omega 3's is the only sensible way forward. One gram per day seems right for most children."

Montgomery recommends choosing a fish oil supplement that contains a high ratio of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA) to omega-6 fatty acids (DHA). "The right ratio of 3's to 6's seems to be about four to one," he says.

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