ADHD News & Research

New Study: Fatty Acids Improve ADHD Symptoms

According to new research, omega-3 and -6 supplements can improve ADHD symptoms – especially for a particular type of ADHD – if administered in the right balance.

Omega-3 for ADHD

For the last decade, researchers studying the link between certain polyunsaturated fatty acids and ADHD symptoms have documented improvements in behavior, reading, and spelling for children taking properly balanced supplements. Now, a double-blind study confirms the link between omega-3 and -6 supplements, and better brain function.

The research, completed by the Sahlgrenska Academy of the University of Gothernburg, used a sample of 75 children and teens with ADHD. The group received either omega-3/6 supplements or a placebo over the course of three months. Then, the entire sample received the active supplement for three months. The researchers found that symptoms improved significantly for 35% of the subjects with inattentive ADHD who received the supplement. This new data further suggests that fatty acid supplements can be a good alternative or supplemental treatment, especially for those who have found stimulant medication ineffective.

Furthermore, the research suggests that striking the right balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is important. Previously, Paul Montgomery, D.Phil found that, “The right ratio of omega-3s to -6s seems about four to one.” These fatty acids can be consumed as food by increasing your child’s intake of fish like salmon, tuna and trout, and shellfish like crab, mussels and oysters. If your child doesn’t like seafood, Sandy Newmark, M.D., recommends that, “Children four to six years of age start with a daily supplement of 500mg of omega-3s; children seven years and older, 1000mg.”

Talk to your pediatrician to determine the optimum dosage as part of an ADHD management regimen, and how best to balance of DHA (docashexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosaapentaeic acid) through nutrition and supplements.