Perhaps, but it won't take the place of medication, expert says
WebMD News from HealthDay
By Dennis Thompson
THURSDAY, March 19, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Boys with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder may benefit from the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and some vegetable oils, a small European study suggests.
Those who regularly ate an omega-3-loaded margarine experienced an improvement in their ability to pay attention, compared with boys who did not, researchers report in the March 19 issue of Neuropsychopharmacology.
The results suggest that parents might help children with ADHD by adding foods rich in omega-3s to their diet, or by giving them a fish oil supplement, said lead author Dienke Bos, a postdoctoral researcher with the Brain Center Rudolf Magnus at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands.
However, the improvement in the boys' attention was not huge, and omega-3s did not seem to help other ADHD-related symptoms like impulse control or aggression, said Russell Barkley, clinical professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Parents should not replace their kids' ADHD medication with omega-3s, Bos and Barkley said.
"My opinion at the moment is that if there is any benefit, it is modest, nowhere near what one gets with [U.S. Food and Drug Administration]-approved medications," Barkley said.
Boys in the study without ADHD who consumed omega-3s also seemed to benefit in terms of attention.
Omega-3 fatty acids are mainly found in fatty fish like trout, herring and salmon, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They also are found in soybean and canola oils, and in walnuts and flaxseed.
Prior research has shown the potential benefits of omega-3s in preventing heart disease, according to the National Institutes of Health. The polyunsaturated fats also might help a wide variety of other health problems, although study results have been inconclusive.
In the United States, about 5.9 million children younger than 18 have been diagnosed with ADHD, according to the CDC. It is one of the most common childhood psychiatric conditions.
source : Can Fish Oil Help Boys With ADHD Pay Attention?