Increasing evidence suggests that a relative lack of omega-3 may contribute to many psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, oppositional defiant disorder, depression, developmental coordination disorder, and autism.
Numerous studies show children with ADHD have a measurable reduction in the tissue levels of omega-3s (EPA). Omega-3 is critical in the structure and function of brain cells.
DHA found in Omega-6 protects the brain from neurotoxicities such as pesticides and mercury, both toxins that have been linked to ADHD. DHA also plays an important role in brain development and intelligence.
It’s very important to get the correct ratio of Omega 3/6 fatty acids. The typical American consumes far too many omega-6 fats in their diet while consuming very low levels of omega-3.
The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is 1:1. Today, however, most people’s ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 averages from 20:1 to a staggering 50:1. Those kinds of ratios are not good news for your ADHD symptoms
Antioxidants for ADHD
The neutralizing effect of antioxidants helps protect the body from oxidative stress.
EPA and DHA acids have demonstrated promising antioxidant properties.
Dopamine is highly susceptible to auto-oxidation when our antioxidant defense is weak. Oxidative stress and dopamine dysfunction thus appear interrelated in ADHD, possibly leading to a vicious cycle.
It is important to know that Omega supplementation takes up to six weeks to show a large decline in ADHD symptoms. A randomized clinical study from 2009 concluded children and adolescents with ADHD treated with omega 3/6 fatty acids for 6 months responded with meaningful reduction of core ADHD symptoms.
26% responded with more than 25% reduction of ADHD symptoms after a few weeks, but after 6 months, 47% of all participants showed such improvement. The majority of responders tended to have ADHD inattentive subtype and comorbid neurodevelopment disorders.