24 Healing Options for any Illness

Fish Oil

ADHD is commonly associated with decreased levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood. The human body cannot produce these fatty acids on its own and thus must obtain them from food. Because of this, it is often recommended that those suffering from the disorder get extra omega-3s in their diet. One common source of omega-3 fatty acids is fish oil. Fish oil can be obtained either by eating fish itself or by taking it in supplement form. If you are looking to add fish to your diet directly, cod liver, mackerel, herring, tuna, salmon, all contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

Fish oil contains several omega-3 fatty acids, but eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the most important. Be aware that these are often listed separately on supplements. In general, omega-3 fatty acids help reduce pain and swelling, as well as reducing blood clotting. If supplementation is coming in the form of actual fish in the diet, limit the amount of fish that you are getting each week, especially because fatty fish can contain toxins such as mercury. It is unclear how fish oil supplements interact with fish allergies, so take supplements with caution if you have such an allergy.

Scientific Studies:

The connection between omega-3 fatty acids (including those found in fish oil) and neuropsychiatric health is supported by a wide range of research. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, a group that includes omega-3s, were investigated in a 2002 study. Parents of the children taking the supplement reported beneficial outcomes, especially in terms of behavior. Children were reported to have improved attention in class and be more cooperative, while the frequency of disruptive behavior decreased. In 2004, another team of researchers looked at whether docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplements in particular could help treat ADHD in children. Their findings showed that supplementation led to improvement in visual short-term memory and in the ability to perform a task continuously over time compared to those children who did not receive the supplements. A 2005 study suggested that adding fish oil supplements to patients' diets did indeed improve ADHD symptoms. Specifically, arachidonic acid and EPA were found to be effective.

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