Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by clinical signs such as inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. These symptoms were correlated with the inhibition of dopamine’s action on the central nervous system. Thus, the use of drugs such as methylphenidate and lisdexamfetamine dimesylate are commonly used, because of their potential action on catecholamines.
However, treatments with these drugs are not effective for all patients. With this in mind, omega 3 was ruled as a possible intervention for the treatment of ADHD.
Omega 3 in the Central Nervous System
N-3 fatty acids have been linked to improved cognitive function and learning, an effect that may aid in ADHD. What’s more, EPA and DHA have anti-inflammatory properties, which inhibit oxidative stress and free radicals.
Other effects of omega 3 on the central nervous system are, increased regulation of neurotransmitter functions, provision of neuroprotective properties and alteration in receptor signaling functions dopaminergic, cholinergic and GABAergic. As well as a role in the sodium and potassium pump, which is vital in the transmission of nerve synapses.
In order to elucidate the effects of omega 3 on ADHD, a meta-analysis entitled “Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Youths with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials and Biological Studies”, analyzed three factors to determine the effectiveness of omega 3 in the treatment of ADHD, 21 studies were included in this meta-analysis.
The first factor analyzed, was the impacts of omega 3 on the clinical signs of ADHD, 8 studies were included in this field. The second factor analyzed, was the impacts of omega 3 on cognition, 4 studies were included in this field. The third factor, was the analysis of the level of omega 3 in people with ADHD, 9 studies were included in this field.
The results of the study showed that omega-3 supplementation led to an improvement in total symptoms of ADHD, inattention and hyperactivity, improvements in omission error and commissioning, but without changes in memory and information processing, in young people with ADHD. In addition to all these factors, the paper demonstrated that young people with ADHD tend to have lower DHA levels than normal.
The findings of the current meta-analysis demonstrate a positive effect of omega-3s in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, the evidence in relation to this field of research is very brief. With this in mind, more research is needed to solidify this new therapeutic application of omega-3s.
CHANG, Jane Pei-Chen; SU, Kuan-Pin; MONDELLI, Valeria; PARIANTE, Carmine M. Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Youths with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials and biological studies. Neuropsychopharmacology, , v. 43, [S .L.]n. 3, p. 534-545, July 25. 2017. Http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/npp.2017.160
Role of omega 3 in cardiovascular diseases.