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Can DHA help those with Attention-Deficit Hyperactive Disorder?

 


A growing childhood malady is Attention-Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). The ADHD child finds it impossible to concentrate in school. He is fidgety, can't sit still very long, and may be destructive. Researchers are just starting to study the connection between ADHD and DHA levels. For instance, Dr. L. Stevens at Purdue Universtiy, Indiana, reports that boys diagnosed with ADD have low levels of DHA and EPA. Interestingly, another study at Purdue University found that children who were breast fed as infants were less likely to have ADHD. Based on these observations, scientists such as Dr. Stevens hypothesize that faulty fatty acid metabolism may contribute to ADHD.

To test whether raising DHA levels via supplementation may alleviate ADHD, several research groups are planning studies. As of the time of this writing, no such studies have been completed. Yet, the results are eagerly anticipated and will likely be announced through the media and health-related newsletters. On the other hand, a group at the Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University in Japan led by Dr. Hamazaki was interested in whether DHA would reduce aggression in students undergoing final exams. (The Japanese exam periods are extremely mentally stressful, and students would often become aggressive toward others as a result.) The researchers gave 41 students either daily capsules of 1.5 grams DHA, or soybean oil lacking DHA. At the end of the testing period, the control group receiving the soybean oil exhibited significantly increased levels of aggressive behavior, as was expected. However, those who received DHA did not show signs of aggression. The researchers concluded that DHA supplementation prevented extra-aggression from increasing during times of mental stress in students.

 


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