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Omega-3 fatty acid and ADHD: blood level analysis and meta-analytic extension of supplementation trials.
Interest in the value of omega-3 (n-3) fatty acid supplementation for treatment of ADHD remains high. No prior meta-analysis has examined whether ADHD is associated with alterations in blood lipid levels and meta-analyses of supplementation have reached conflicting conclusions.
METHODSWe report two new meta-analyses. Study 1 examined blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids in relation to ADHD. Study 2 examined a larger sample of randomized intervention trials than previously reported.
RESULTSStudy 1 included 9 studies (n=586) and found lower overall blood levels of n-3 in individuals with ADHD versus controls (g=0.42, 95% CI=0.26-0.59; p<.001). Study 2 included 16 studies (n=1408) and found that n-3 supplementation improved ADHD composite symptoms; using the best available rating and reporter (g=0.26, 95% CI=0.15-0.37; p<.001). Supplementation showed reliable effects on hyperactivity by parent and teacher report, but reliable effects for inattention only by parent report.
CONCLUSIONSOmega-3 levels are reduced in children with ADHD. Dietary supplementation appears to create modest improvements in symptoms. There is sufficient evidence to consider omega-3 fatty acids as a possible supplement to established therapies. However it remains unclear whether such intervention should be confined to children with below normal blood levels.
Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, School of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, United States.
Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, School of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, United States; Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, United States. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
Fatty Acids, Omega-3
Pub Type(s)Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't