Omega 3 fish oil Supplementation specifically EPA Linked to Improved Behaviors in ADHD Subgroups

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a heterogeneous, clinically recognized condition characterized by impulsivity, inattention and hyperactivity. Children with ADHD often have symptoms overlapping other disorders, such as coordination problems, dyslexia, social difficulties and cognitive deficits. ADHD occurs most commonly in children, but in a majority of cases some symptoms persist into adolescence and adulthood.

Long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LC-PUFAs) and other PUFAs have been associated with the condition because of their importance in brain structure and function, processing of emotional responses, low concentrations in ADHD and limited success in treating individuals with the condition. However, not all studies have reported low PUFA status in ADHD or treatment effectiveness with n-3 LC-PUFAs. Several intervention studies have used a combination of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids. Studies using a relatively high proportion of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) have reported improvement in some symptoms, depending on the type of ADHD the children exhibited. Pure DHA was without effect in one study. ADHD behaviors may be predominantly combined hyperactive/impulsive, oppositional/defiant or inattentive and it is not known which type(s) of ADHD might be most responsive to treatment with EPA, n-3 LC-PUFAs or combined n-3 and n-6 fatty acids.

A recent double-blind, controlled study from Sweden explored whether children with clinically diagnosed combined type ADHD or subgroups of these children would respond to EPA supplementation. The investigators recruited children aged 7 to 12 years from 8 psychiatric and pediatric clinics in the country. Participants were free of other medical conditions, mental retardation, autism and epileptic seizures during the preceding 2 years. Various other clinical conditions, such as endocrine disorders, impaired hearing or vision and psychotic symptoms were also reasons for exclusion. Of the 109 eligible children, 17 dropped out, leaving 92 for intention-to-treat analysis. Additionally, 10 more had deficient follow-up data, leaving 82 participants with complete data.

After 15 weeks In the teachers’ subscale for inattention or cognitive difficulties, children who consumed the EPA supplement exhibited significant improvement. When the investigators analyzed the results for the children who were classified at baseline as having oppositional behaviors, the effect of EPA treatment on the combined scores of parents’ and teachers’ ratings was statistically significant (P = 0.03). This result was largely attributable to scores on the teachers’ ratings. Among these children, 52% of those who consumed the EPA supplement exhibited a 25% improvement or more, according to the teachers’ ratings for oppositional behavior and inattention or cognitive problems. Those who responded to the EPA supplement also had lower serum phospholipid EPA and higher arachidonic acid concentrations at baseline compared with non-responders (Table).

Qb-test scores for hyperactivity in children who were below the median at baseline improved by 25% or more in 36% of children who consumed the EPA supplement compared with 18% in the placebo group. However, these improvements did not reach statistical significance. In 22 children who were both hyperactive and oppositional-defiant, 13 consumed EPA and 9 received the placebo. Eight of the EPA children showed a 25% or greater improvement in hyperactive and oppositional behavior, while only one in the placebo group improved. These responses were significant, P = 0.03.

In this study, subgroups of children with ADHD who had either oppositional or hyperactive-impulsive behaviors responded to the consumption of EPA with significant reductions in their symptoms as assessed by their teachers. These findings support those of Richardson and colleagues and Johnson’s research group research group who used a combination of fatty acids in particular subgroups of children with ADHD. Those with inattention or oppositional behavior are more likely to respond to EPA or n-3 LC-PUFAs, while those with hyperactivity may be less responsive. The study also observed that teachers’ ratings are more likely to detect behavioral changes than those from parents. Many problem behaviors occur in the classroom, so this observation was not surprising. In this study, children with oppositional behaviors who responded to EPA had significantly lower levels of EPA in their serum phospholipids compared with non-responders, although the number of children was very small. The authors also noted that the dose of EPA, 500 mg/day, was relatively small, but sufficient to be useful in subgroups of the participants.

Omega 3 EPA  fish oil supplementation improves teacher-rated behaviour and oppositional symptoms in children with ADHD

Related posts:

  1. Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acid specifically EPA may decrease symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, meta-analysis suggests – Yale Child Study Centre – Yale School of Medicine
  2. Omega 3 is the best natural alternatives to anti depressants and natural adhd remedy
  3. Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation for the Treatment of Children With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptomatology
  4. Omega-3 high EPA formulation Effective for Treating Child ADHD
  5. ADHD reduced by 60% by increasing intake of omega3 during pregnancy .

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