• Attention Deficit Syndrome Attention Deficit Hyperactivity and Omega 3.
  • Attention Deficit Syndrome Attention Deficit Hyperactivity and Omega 3.
  • Attention Deficit Syndrome Attention Deficit Hyperactivity and Omega 3.

What are the symptoms of ADHD?

The symptoms of ADHD may include social withdrawal shyness and anxiety, and in some children, impulsivity, difficulty controlling behavior, and inattention. Children with ADHD often have learning difficulties, such as problems with reading and writing. There are three recognized types of ADHD: predominantly inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, inattentive and combined hyperactive-impulsive type, the most common type. Hyperactive children are constantly in motion, impulsive children are unable to control their reactions or think before acting, and inattentive children have trouble keeping your mind on one thing and may get bored with a task after only a few minutes. These types of ADHD are recognized by the following features:

• Children with ADHD by inattention, often:

• Are easily distracted
• seem to listen when spoken
• Have difficulty following instructions or finish tasks
• Have difficulty staying organized
• Standing bad things

• Hyperactive children with ADHD typically have the following characteristics: 

• Difficulty sitting still and wait their turn
• Restlessness and jumping while sitting
• Talking too
• Give the impression of being in constant motion
• climb and jump things inappropriately
• They run improperly

• Impulsive children with ADHD often: 

• have great difficulty awaiting turn
• Interruption of play activities and conversations
• children blurt out answers to questions not addressed to them
• Acting recklessly without thinking about the consequences

Adults with ADHD may have difficulty following directions, remembering information, concentrating, organizing tasks or completing work within time limits, and these difficulties can cause behavioral problems, emotional, social, professional and academic. No two people with ADHD with the same group of symptoms.

What causes ADHD?

At present, the causes of ADHD are not known with certainty, but involve both genetic and environmental factors that differ between individuals. Over 25 years ago, researchers found signs of fatty acid deficiency in hyperactive children. We also know that the serious deficiencies in essential fatty acids, including omega-3 long chain, can cause profound mental retardation. Deficits in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are known to affect behavior and cognition, both directly and indirectly. Evidence suggesting a link with ADHD derives in part from human studies that reported a reduction in plasma omega-3 fatty acids in patients with ADHD.

Studies have shown that consumption abnormally low or tissue levels of various types of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), including omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are associated with ADHD. For example, some studies reported that children and adults with ADHD have less omega-3s in the tissues than people without ADHD. These reductions in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 PUFA, long chain and total omega-3 fatty acids may persist into adulthood. Although previous research suggests that the low state of omega-3 fatty acids was associated with high levels of behavioral and cognitive symptoms of ADHD, a recent investigation revealed few associations between PUFA and cognition in adults with ADHD. Other studies in children with ADHD showed that fatty acids in plasma does not reflect a deficiency of omega-3 PUFA.

Nutrition can influence the expression of related genes producing enzymes, which may predispose children to nutrient deficiencies. Some of the many genes that affect fatty acid metabolism of interrelated manner can contribute to the risk of developing disorders and psychiatric conditions. Several genes have been associated with ADHD, including one that alters the metabolism of PUFA (affecting the dopamine transporter gene) and others that affect the production of neurosteroids, substances that alter neural activity. However, it is unclear how the variables in the diet can affect the expression of these genes in ADHD. Other evidence that relates to the PUFA metabolism suggests that some individuals with ADHD have higher rates of oxidative degradation of omega-3 fatty acids. This could explain why omega-3 are lower in some individuals. Moreover, the oxidation products can damage the nervous tissue. Remarks such as these have led to the hypothesis that an insufficient amount of specific fatty acids affect brain function in such a way as to cause or worsen symptoms of ADHD. 

Why are so important omega-3 in brain function? 

There are two "families" of essential fatty acids, these being the omega-3 and omega-6. Omega-3s are required for both structure to brain function and are necessary for the brain of children can properly develop. These fatty acids cannot be synthesized from scratch in the body and must be obtained from the diet. PUFAs represent about 20% of the brain and nervous system as a whole, one in three is polyunsaturated fatty acids. PUFAs are essential structural components of cell membranes and nervous tissue, and the omega-3, particularly DHA, are essential for the formation of new tissue, so they are important for the development and growth. Possible biological mechanisms that explain the impact of omega-3 fatty acids on neurological disorders are complex and are still being investigated for verification. 

Long chain PUFA as a treatment for ADHD 

So what is the scientific evidence that PUFAs may be effective in reducing the symptoms of ADHD? Studies of the relationship of PUFA with ADHD to date have had limitations that often make it difficult to compare results from a study with others. These limitations are partly responsible for the conflicting results of the studies. Among these limitations is the combined diagnosis of participants, differences in doses, products and duration, a reduced number of participants, combination therapy with special diets and drugs, or the existence of other health conditions, different treatment durations variants of statistical methods, etc. Despite the many limitations, the evidence summarized below suggests that the symptoms of ADHD may be related to long-chain PUFA, including omega-3 PUFA.

Observations in hyperactive children suggest having signs of fatty acid deficiency, and that ADHD and other neurodevelopmental disorders may be associated with inadequate levels of essential fatty acids, suggesting that the symptoms of ADHD can be addressed with a nutritional approach or involving dietary omega-3. Doctors investigating a link between diet and hyperactivity found that flaxseed oil, rich in omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) was associated with decreased symptoms of ADHD in children and improving care in adults healthy. Although our bodies have the necessary enzymes for conversion to the biologically active molecule of long-chain omega-3 from ALA, very little is converted to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and almost none will DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Therefore, these two omega-3 fatty acids are mainly basic diet and not by the metabolism of ALA.

PUFA omega-3s have been useful in patients with ADHD in some but not all studies. The symptoms of ADHD in children receiving omega-3 fatty acids have improved significantly compared to children without ADHD in two large studies, one in the UK and one in Australia. Children with a diagnosis of dyslexia and secondarily with symptoms of ADHD received an olive oil or omega-3 / omega-6 combination for 3 months. Those who consumed the omega-3 / omega-6 combination experienced significantly older than children in the group of olive oil over the lack of attention and behavior and anxiety benefits. 


Further evidence for efficacy of omega-3 PUFA long to treat children with ADHD chain was reported by a psychiatrist who described significant improvements in behavior (inattention, hyperactivity, opposition / defiant behavior and conduct disorder) in children who received a large amount of EPA / DHA concentrate daily for 8 weeks. 

When children with ADHD were treated for 4 months with a formula for omega-3 / omega-6 fish oil plus evening primrose oil (high in gamma-linolenic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, also known by primrose ), there were significant benefits for attention and behavior and clinical ratings of oppositional defiant disorder. In a similar study, children with ADHD who fish oil capsules containing 2400 mg and 600 mg of evening primrose oil were given daily for 15 weeks had significant improvements in many areas related to hyperactivity and inattention compared to children with ADHD who received a placebo. An additional long-term study (12 months) is comparing the benefits of oils rich in DHA EPA about the symptoms of ADHD and literacy in children with ADHD and learning disabilities.

In another recent study, the majority of children and adolescents with ADHD was treated for 3 months with omega-3 / omega-6 did not respond. However, a subgroup of participants characterized by inattention and associated neurodevelopmental disorders, responded with a reduction of more than 25% of the symptoms, and after 6 months, 47% of all children showed improvement.

In a larger number of children with neurological problems that developed with coordination treated with omega-3s and omega-6 PUFA disorders, symptoms improved significantly, but again, in a very small way.

Despite the promising results of some studies, others show no significant effect of treatment of children with ADHD with omega-3. For example, children receiving maintenance treatment with stimulant medications were given 345 mg of DHA per day for 4 months. Although DHA levels increased in the blood, treatment of 4 months no ADHD symptoms decreased. However, no small children diagnosed with ADHD, but related to ADHD and treated with omega-3 symptoms showed a beneficial effect number. Unfortunately, studies with small numbers of children with different time intervals for treatment and the different forms of omega-3 does not allow conclusions on the long-term efficacy of omega-3 in the treatment of ADHD.

No nutrient works in isolation, and essential micronutrients such as zinc also provide benefits for ADHD. Zinc is an essential cofactor in the synthesis of PUFA, so these results may be relevant to a basis for its benefits for ADHD. It is unlikely that a single cause is found for ADHD. Nutritional deficiencies are common in ADHD, and supplementation with minerals, B vitamins, omega-3 and omega-6, and flavonoids have the potential to decrease symptoms of ADHD. Multiple forms of treatment are probably necessary to treat patients with ADHD, and may include nutritional, environmental, pharmacological and psychosocial interventions.


What conclusions gives the information presently available to long-chain omega-3 and ADHD?
At this time, we do not know for sure if the fatty acid abnormalities associated with ADHD are the result of differences in diet, genetics or metabolism of fatty acids. So far, we know that children with ADHD who have low amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA in their bodies have more problems with learning and behavior than those with normal amounts. So far, we know the optimal amount of omega-3 and omega-6 separately or together to be more effective in different types of ADHD.

However, preliminary evidence from treatment trials suggest that omega-3s may be a useful adjunctive treatment for ADHD and related childhood diseases in developing. Ensure that the diet provides a regular source of omega-3s by eating fish twice a week as recommended by the American Heart Association, or taking supplements of fish liver oil or omega-3 enriched eggs, it is reasonable for a person with ADHD focus. 

* A fully referenced version of this article is available through our mailinfo@verusbiotech.com

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