Children with ADHD need Fish Oils

April 11, 2008

ADHD is one of the most frequently diagnosed childhood psychiatric conditions. While there are many theories regarding the cause of ADHD, we now know that many of the children diagnosed today, have a biological parent who shares the same diagnosis. Other factors that may contribute to the symptoms of ADHD are fetal alcohol syndrome, lead poisoning, meningitis, and a genetic resistance to thyroid hormone. A deficiency in essential fatty acids (EFAs) is also being singled out by some as a cause of or contributor to ADHD. EFAs influence ADHD primarily in two ways: they influence gut permeability and absorption and they are needed for the proper development of brain tissue.
Omega-3 refers to a group or "family" of EFAs. The first fatty acid in this group is named alpha linolenic acid or just linolenic acid, and sometimes it is just called omega-3. Linolenic acid cannot be made in the body and therefore, it is classified as an essential fatty acid and must be obtained from either the diet or in supplement form. The other two fatty acids in the omega-3 family are named eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Most of the time the body can manufacture EPA and DHA by conversions from linolenic acid however, EPA and DHA are readily available in Fish Oil Supplements.
A new study evaluated the diets of eleven ADHD adolescents and twelve ADHD free adolescents to determine if there was a correlation between fatty acid intake and ADHD. The study revealed that teens with ADHD eat higher amounts of fats than their non-ADHD peers and that both groups consume equal amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. However, the teens with ADHD showed lower levels of DHA and total omega-3 fatty acids, higher levels of omega-6 and lower ratios of omega-3 to omega-6 in comparison to the control participants. It appears that the irregularities in fatty acid levels in adolescents with ADHD are not due to consumption differences, but that teens with ADHD metabolize fatty acids differently than their non-ADHD peers. The study is published in the February 2008 issue of Nutrition Journal

Patients on statin drugs require Coenzyme Q10 supplementation

High cholesterol runs in some families, and people in these families have high bad cholesterol even if they exercise, are thin, and eat the best diet. If not treated they wind up with crust in the arteries inside their hearts and often die at an early age from a heart attack. Doctors appropriately place these patients on statin drugs to protect their hearts by lowering their bad cholesterol.
In this new study these individuals were placed on generic Lipitor; the most researched statin drug. The statin lowered their cholesterol significantly but it also lowered their CoQ10 quickly and by 26.1% within a short period of time (note; this could at least partially explain why individuals on a statin drug frequently feel less energetic and possibly why their muscles ache). The study is published in the October 24th, 2007 issue of the journal Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
In this unrelated study all patients with high cholesterol were placed on generic Lipitor (atorvastatin) at 10mg a day. They were also given either 100mg of Coenzyme Q10 or inactive placebo daily along with their drug for 16 weeks. In the patients on placebo the level of Coenzyme Q10 in their blood dropped by a whopping 42% but in those supplemented with Coenzyme Q10 the level actually improved. This study is published in the December 2007 issue of the journal Atherosclerosis.