Fats, DHA & EPA (2002, 2007) & ADHD


Learn more about ADD & ADHD.


Researchers noted that a number of learning and behavorial difficulties in children have been tied to deficiencies in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and that these conditions may be helped through supplementation.

201 children in Australia were given fish oil supplements containing DHA and EPA.

The researchers also investigated added micronutrients because it is known that synergestic effects are helpful. The researchers studied 132 children (7-12) with learning/behavioral problems over 15 weeks. They found significant moderate to marked positive results in rating by parents of symptoms, hyperactivity, inattention, impulsivity compared to a placebo group. They also found that the addition of micronutrients made no additional difference.

Then, in a crossover, they tested the placebo group with the supplement and found that they also benefited.

They concluded that these essential fatty acids, which are not synthesized by the body, may be helpful for ADD & ADHD, and improvments may continue to 30 weeks.

Researchers: Sinn N, Bryan J., et al,
Published: Effect of supplementation with polyunsaturated fatty acids and micronutrients on learning and behavior problems associated with child ADHD, Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, April, 2007


The researchers wanted to determine whether deficiencies in highly unsaturated fats (HUFAs) may contribute to ADHD learning and behavior problems.

Editor's note: HUFAs are polyunsaturated fatty acids with a double bond; omega-3 fatty acids are HUFAs, and cannot be created by the body.

They examined 41 children 8-12 with learning problems (mostly dyslexia) and ADHD symptoms who were given HUFA supplements or placebo for 12 weeks.

The children's behavioral and learning difficulties were evaulated at the beginning and end of the period and after 12 weeks there was marked improvement in standard behavioral test scores on 7 out of 14 scales. For 3 out of 14 scales the change was statistically significant.

They concluded that HUFA supplements appear to lower ADHD symptoms in those with specific learning difficulties and that given the tolerability, safety, and simplicity of the treatment further research be completed.

Researchers: Richardson AJ, Puri BK.
Published: A randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the effects of supplementation with highly unsaturated fatty acids on ADHD-related symptoms in children with specific learning difficulties, Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, February, 2002