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Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may offer some benefits in improving symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) when used as augmentation to traditional pharmacotherapy. In what is believed to be the first meta-analysis to determine the efficacy of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in children with ADHD, study authors Michael H. Bloch, M.D., and Ahmad Qawasmi, M.D., found a small but significant effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in improving ADHD symptoms, particularly when higher doses of omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) were used. However, the effect was modest compared with currently available ADHD medications. Drs. Bloch and Qawasmi are with the Yale Child Study Center, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
Nevertheless, given its relatively benign side-effect profile and modest efficacy, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may be a reasonable treatment strategy as augmentation to traditional pharmacotherapy "or for families who decline all other psychopharmacologic options," the authors write.
Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). They are classified as "essential" fatty acids--i.e., essential to human health--but cannot be manufactured in the body.
EPA and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are omega-3 fatty acids …