New research linking ADHD and omega-3 deficiencies


Dr Alex Richardson is due to be a key note speaker at the Omega-3 Fatty Acids Symposium, which will be taking place this coming Friday at Massey University. She will be reporting her findings that there is an increased prevalence of omega-3 deficiency in children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids have been highlighted as having protective mechanisms for conditions such as coronary heart disease, dementia including Alzheimer’s disease and psychiatric conditions, including schizophrenia. There has been controversy over whether there is a link between omega-3 deficiency and a diagnosis of ADHD.

Dr Richardson and her team at the University of Oxford, have conducted research as into how a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids can affect behaviour, mood and memory and its use as a form of protection and management for conditions including ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia and autism.
There is a growing body of controlled clinical trials that have shown increasing dietary omega-3 or taking omega-3 supplements can increase management and even improve symptoms of these conditions in children.

Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically that which is attained from oily fish such as salmon and mackerel is an element of cell membranes of almost every cell in the body. Therefore a deficiency can affect multiple processes within the life cycle including the brain, blood vessels, bones, heart and skin.

It is recommended that children aged 4 to 8 years old should have 0.9 grams of omega-3 daily, this increases to 1.2g per day for children aged between 9 and 13. For children between 14 and 18 years of age it is recommended that males consume 1.6g per day and females 1.1g per day.