Low DHA Omega-3 Levels May Contribute to Learning Disorders August 28, 2011
Suboptimal omega-3 levels may contribute to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and related developmental problems. Associations between omega-3 and learning and behaviour were investigated in 75 children aged 7-12 with ADHD. Children provided blood samples and underwent cognitive assessments. 36% of the children with learning difficulties had lower DHA than those without.
In Australia, a group of 75 children, ages 7 to12, underwent cognitive assessments. Students with higher levels of omega 3EPA/DHA (marine sourced fatty acids) reported less anxiety and better word recall compared to children with high omega-6 levels (the type of fats found in fast food and processed foods) who had measurable attention deficits that correlated to lower reading and spelling levels.
The study from Australia is just one of several reports indicating that omega-3 with EPA and DHA found in fatty fish and fish oil are important for good cognitive functioning. The long and uniquely flexible omega 3 EPA /DHA chains are indispensable for the proper nutrient exchange across the cell membrane and help with the transmission of signals in the brain.
This study is the first to compare blood level of Omega-3 in children who have ADHD with and without learning difficulties, and supports emerging indications that the former may be more likely responders to omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA.
J Child Health Care. 2011 Aug 9. [Epub ahead of print]
Polyunsaturated fatty acids, cognition and literacy in children with ADHD with and without learning difficulties.
Milte CM, Sinn N, Buckley JD, Coates AM, Young RM, Howe PR.
Nutritional Physiology Research Centre, University of South Australia, Australia.