Fat, Fish Oil, and ADD/ADHD Brain Power
“Fats make up 60 percent of the brain and of the nerves that run every system in the body,” says William Sears, M.D., an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine. “The better the fat in the diet, the better the brain will function.”
Most important to brain function are the two essential fatty acids found in fish oil, linoleic (or omega- 6) and alpha linolenic (or omega-3). These are the prime structural components of brain cell membranes, and an important part of the enzymes that allow cell membranes to transport nutrients in and out of cells. Western diets contain too many omega-6 fatty acids and too few of the omega-3s, which are found in coldwater fish (primarily salmon and tuna), soybeans, walnuts, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, and eggs. Flaxseed and canola oils are good sources of omega-3s.
“ADDers who have low levels of omega-3s will show the biggest improvement in mental focus and cognitive function when they add more of these healthy fats to their diet,” says Richard Brown, M.D., associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.