Using Fish Oil To Treat ADHD

Fish oil is gaining increasing attention in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly referred to as ADD or ADHD.

It is rich in essential fatty acids (EFA's), particularly Omega-3 and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

These fatty acids are essential to brain health and, generally speaking, what is good for the brain is also good for treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

It has also been shown to enhance and stabilize mood and has been used in reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Interestingly, countries with the highest intake of fish in their diets are correlated with the lowest rates of depression among citizens.

Helpful Tip: For vegetarians or those who dislike fish, flaxseed oil is a good alternative.

The Research About Fish Oil

In one well known study conducted at the University of South Australia, researchers tested Omega-3 in 132 children with ADHD, ranging in age from 7 to 12. After the 30-week study ended, almost half the parents reported that their children's symptoms were improved.

Specifically, a 40-50 percent improvement in behavior for 30-weeks in the group that was given the Omega-3 versus the control group which received none. In fact, compared with results of studies testing popular and mainstream ADHD medications such as Ritalin and Concerta, they found that Omega-3 was more effective.

In addition, a study published in the Nutrition Journal ( suggested that children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can benefit from a daily supplement of Omega-3 and DHA. In their 8-week study, children who consumed between 8 and 16 grams per day of Omega-3 and DHA displayed significant improvements in their behavior as rated by both their parents and their treating psychiatrists.

Specifically, the study found a statistically significant improvement in inattention, hyperactivity, oppositional/defiant behavior and conduct disorders. The researchers even suggested a link between low levels of essential fatty acids and ADD/ADHD.

In a clinical trial published last year in The Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, researchers found improvements in parents’ ratings of their childrens hyperactivity and inattention after a round of oil supplements.

Furthermore, a British study published in the journal Pediatrics in 2005 reported improvements in reading and spelling among children treated with omega-3 fatty acids.

Other Important Benefits

Unlike amphetamine-based stimulant medications such as Ritalin, Omega-3 does not have any negative side effects. The oil from fish safe and natural, but try to purchase the purified variety which contains less Mercury and other human pollutants. 

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