ADHD and Fish Oil Supplements: What's a Safe Dosage?

Q:

"My child was recently diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), and I want to start omega-3 fatty acid supplements. What is a safe dosage that will also help treat the ADD/ADHD symptoms?"

A:

Studies have yet to determine an optimum dosage of omega-3s, or fish oil, in children or adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD). I would recommend children four to six years of age start with a daily supplement of 500 mg of omega-3s; children seven years and older, 1000 mg. In both cases, I recommend a supplement that has equal amounts of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaeic acid). Talk with your health care provider to discover the optimum dosage for your child.

Although one Japanese study gave children very high amounts of omega-3s that resulted in improved ADD/ADHD symptoms, the FDA recommends taking no more than 3000 mg a day. Even then, talk with your doctor before increasing omega-3 intake to that level.

Note: ADDitude does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The material on this website is provided for educational purposes only. See additional information. While comments are appreciated, due to the high volume of inquiries we receive, there is no guarantee that either ADDitude or the expert will respond to follow-up questions.

Sandy Newmark, M.D., is the founder of the Center for Pediatric Integrative Medicine in San Francisco and author of ADHD Without Drugs: A Guide to Natural Care of Children with ADHD. He is head of the Pediatric Integrative Neurodevelopment Clinic at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
 
 
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