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Research On the Use of Fish Oil For Children With ADHD: Is It Good Oil or Bad News?

Updated on May 30, 2012

Experts have been looking into the benefits of fish oil for children with ADHD for years. ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a mental health problem that affects an estimated 3-5% of children, and is now believed to continue well into adulthood. This condition affects not only the child who has it, but also the people who are around him and have to deal with his symptoms. Ritalin is the most common drug prescribed for this condition, but parents are gradually becoming weary of this option due to the potential dangers of prolonged Ritalin use.

Fish oil is one of the alternative solutions being promoted for the treatment of ADHD symptoms. Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which has long been proven to benefit a person's overall health. There are three types of omega-3 that are essential to our health, and one of them known as DHA is especially noted for promoting healthy brain functions. Fish oil improves on three important areas of the brain: learning, memory, and focus. These, coincidentally, are the three brain functions which children suffering from ADHD have the most difficulty with.

The use of fish oil for children with ADHD has gained mixed reviews from various researchers and health practitioners. Some practitioners say this type of treatment significantly improves a child's focus and attention span. Others have yet to witness success with this treatment. There is also the issue of possible heavy metal contamination in fish oil sources that have not been properly purified. Still others argue that not all children will respond significantly to fish oil therapy. While some of them may show improvement on a more observable level, others may respond to the therapy with only minor gains.

Since DHA is involved in healthy brain development, it is important to get a child started on it at the earliest. ADHD children around the ages of 8 to 12 years have shown significant improvement in mental and organizational skills as they grew older. A study conducted using a combination of fish oil and evening primrose oil has shown to have favorable results in alleviating ADHD symptoms such as inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and focused thinking in 7 to 12-year-old children.

The benefits of fish oil for children with ADHD may still be under research and scrutiny, but there is absolutely no harm in providing this supplement for children, if only to improve their health.


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    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      I wonder if it will help my writing here on HubPages. Worth looking into. : )

      Thank you very much for your great article and insightful contribution. Voted up, useful, and interesting!