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ADHD Basics: How Fish Oil Can Help

ADHD Basics: How Fish Oil Can Help

ADHD is pretty common in school-aged kids. Lots of scientists think there might be some relationship between this condition and an omega-3 deficiency. This is scary stuff! Let’s take a closer look at ADHD and see how diet and nutrition might play a role in developing this condition.

What are the symptoms?

ADHD stands for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. This disorder’s name pretty much describes the symptoms. Kids with ADHD are very hyper and have a hard time controlling themselves or following directions.

There really is no simple test to see if you or your child has ADHD, but doctors will look for a long pattern of problem behaviors that usually cause trouble at school or work.

How Common Is It?

About 5% of school children have ADHD, which means almost 5 million people between 4 and 17 are affected. Most people will not grow out of this disorder, but will continue to have it as adults. Also, it is about 3 times more common in boys than girls.

What Causes It?

No one really knows what causes ADHD, but it’s more common in families of people who also have it. Other things, like school setting and friends might also have something to do with it.

It’s also true that low levels of omega-3s are common in people with ADHD. This doesn’t mean that low omega-3 causes the disorder, it might just be that people who are very hyperactive don’t have the time to choose healthy foods that contain omega-3s. If you’re worried about whether your teen’s diet is giving them ADHD, read more about the diet and ADHD relationship.

What Are Scientists Saying?

Just because ADHD is interfering with your daily activities, you don’t have to immediately start taking scary stimulants. There’s even research to showing fish oil proves more effective than ritalin for ADHD. Studies show that taking a fish oil supplement can help in areas like reading, spelling, and behavior after only three months.

Taking fish oil for a longer period of time is helpful, too. After six months, many children see a huge drop in the problem behaviors associated with ADHD, especially fighting and roughhousing.

More About Diet & Nutrition

Scientists think that kids with ADHD might have lower levels of omega-3 because their bodies are missing an important vitamin needed to get omega-3s from what they eat.

How Much Fish Oil Should You Take For ADHD?

Finding out what fish oil dosage is right for you or your child might seem a little tricky. Studies show that a typical dose can range from one to sixteen grams per day. A good rule of thumb is to start out with 2 grams/day. This is the dose most commonly given on the bottle of fish oil supplements.

After about one month you should start seeing some changes, and might need to increase the daily amount after that.

Other Helpful Tips

If you or your child has ADHD, try doing some exercise or physical activity before you have to sit for a long period of time. Also, get support from other families living with ADHD. You can find testimonials from parents using fish oil for ADHD and Asperger’s, or visit communities online by using forums and popular websites like Facebook and Myspace.

Now you know a little bit more about ADHD and what might cause it. That should get you thinking about what kinds of foods and supplements you’re putting into your body! If you want to read a more detailed guide to ADHD, you can read one of my other posts like A Parent’s Guide to ADHD and Fish Oil Supplements.
For a full version of this article with references to scientific studies, please contact me by e-mail.