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Sufficient Amounts of One Fatty Acid Might be a Solution to ADHD
Depending on your age, do you remember what you were like as a school aged child? Overflowing with energy, curiosity, anxious to learn? If this sounds like you, chances are that you are now a grandparent, and that in your childhood, you weren’t exposed to many artificial flavors, dyes, or foods. ADHD is a child’s developing brain screaming for nutrition, nourishment, and foods that will support the current brain and allow it to grow as it learns. What are kids fed in response? Sugar-filled GMO cereals, sodas, candy, cookies, potato chips, and French fries (Find out dangers of junk food). These kinds of foods only exacerbate hyperactivity and inattention. Many parents and doctors have tried to solve this problem with discipline, or drugs, but an even simpler solution might be something as simple as something that is lacking in their diets, something as common as omega-3 fatty acids.
Several recent studies have shown that supplementing a child’s diet with omega-3 fatty acids benefits those with ADHD and learning disorders. One such study, done in Durham, England, wanted to find out how to best help the roughly 30 percent of children who suffer from ADHD, dyslexia, and dyspraxia.
The children were split into two different groups. Group 1 was given omega-3 supplements. Group 2 was given placebos. At the beginning of the trial, all the children were diagnosed with a minimum of 32percent of the characteristics of ADHD. The supplements contained high grade fish oils (omega-3) and virgin evening primrose oil (omega-6) for a period of 6 months.
At the 3 month mark, group 1 was already showing remarkable reduction of ADHD, down to about 18 percent, while the change in group 2, the placebo group, was only down 1 percent.
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Massachusetts conducted a clinical study with a group of young children that were diagnosed with ADHD and gave them daily doses of 10.8 grams of omega-3 and 5.4 grams of omega-6 over a test period of 15 weeks. All the children showed lowered episodes of hyperactivity, lower impulsive tendencies, increased levels of attention, less disorderly conduct and lower levels of defiance.
Another study, conducted at the University of South Australia, found those supplementing children’s diets with both omega-3 and omega-6, lowered episodes of hyperactivity and boosted attention span in all the children who received the supplements.
Scientists believe that both the fatty acids are helpful but in different ways. Omega-3 increases blood flow, and regulates hormones, while the omega-6 helps the brain to transmit electrical signals properly.
In a study done in Sweden, it was found that these fatty acids improved children’s behavior dramatically and were actually more effective than stimulant medications that are frequently prescribed for those with ADHD. This study was done at the Sahlgrenska Academy, where 75 children, who had been diagnosed with ADHD, were split into two groups. This was a double blind study where even the researchers did not know which group was receiving placebos and which were receiving the fatty acid supplements. Within 3 months, those who took the fatty acid supplements had clinical improvement in both their attention span and their behavior.
These studies, and more, clearly show that it’s not prescriptions that our children are lacking. No one is born with a deficiency of stimulating drugs in their brains. Our children are lacking in basic nutrition, specifically, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. You can find these in natural foods such as flax seeds, fish, chia seeds, walnuts, and hemp seeds, just to name a few (Read more about sources of omega-3 fats). Children don’t need scolding or medication for their ADHD; they need real fuel for their developing brains.