Omega-3 fish oil supplements improve alertness and alertness in young people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who have low omega-3 levels. This emerges from a study in translational psychiatry (November 20)
The researchers conducted a 12-week, randomized, controlled study of 92 young people, ages 6 to 18, with ADHD. Participants either received a high dose of the omega-3 fatty acid (eicosapentaenoic acid) [EPA]) or placebo.
Participants were rated on four points of the continuous performance test at baseline and at week 12 – focused attention, impulsiveness, sustained alertness, and alertness.
Overall, focused attention improved more in the EPA group than in the placebo group (effect size 0.38), with the improvement in focused attention and alertness in children with the lowest EPA baseline values (effect size 0.89 and 0, respectively). 83) was more pronounced).
In contrast, young people with the highest baseline EPA scores found less improvement in impulsivity than those in the placebo group.
“Our results suggest that fish oil supplements are at least as effective as conventional pharmacological treatments in omega-3 deficient children with ADHD, at least for improving alertness,” said Jane Chang, clinical researcher at the Institute for Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London and co-lead researcher on the study.
“On the flip side, it’s possible to have too much good … our study suggests that there might be negative effects for some children.”