Best fish oils for adhd

Fish Oil Benefits for ADHD: Best Omega 3 Supplements

Can Omega-3 Fatty Acids Help with ADHD?

You know that fish contain nutrients that help prevent heart disease and other serious ailments. Now evidence is mounting that these same omega-3 fatty acids also optimize brain function. Among other things, omega-3s boost the body’s synthesis of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that ADHD medications act to increase.

So, could a daily fish oil capsule help curb the symptoms of ADHD?

Quite possibly, suggest several research studies on fish oil for ADHD — including a study published in Pediatrics. “A lack of certain polyunsaturated fatty acids may contribute to dyslexia and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder,” reports one of the study’s authors, Paul Montgomery, D.Phil., a researcher in the psychiatry department at the University of Oxford in England.

For Montgomery’s study, schoolchildren were given fish oil supplements rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) for a period of three months. During this time, the children showed significant improvements in behavior, reading, and spelling.

[Get This Free Download: Fish Oil Supplements for Children with ADHD]

Is Fish Oil Safe for Kids and Adults with ADHD?

Fish oil is generally safe when taken properly, but you should always speak with your doctor before trying fish oil.  Make sure the fish oil supplement you take is free of mercury and other contaminants. Children and adults with shellfish allergies should not take fish oil supplements; instead, they should look for vegetarian omega-3 supplements, usually made of algae or other plant-based materials. Side effects of fish oil supplements are generally mild, and may include nausea, heartburn, or “fish burps.”

What Are the Best Omega-3 Supplements for ADD?

Over-The-Counter Formulations for Children with ADHD

Fish burps are a real, dreaded thing. These, and the fishy taste of many omega 3 supplements, deter many children from trying this line of treatment. So ADDitude asked three kids with ADD — Natalie (age 10), Harry (10), and Katie (7) — to try several popular omega-3 products.

Although none of the products caused the deal-breaker fish burps, some of them did need to be hidden in other foods to get past our tasters’ picky palates. Here are the results, along with some frank comments from our panel.

Carlson for Kids (lemon flavor) (#CommissionsEarned)
Benefits: Made from cold-water fish caught in Norwegian waters; bottled in Norway to ensure maximum freshness
Serving: 800 mg of omega 3s per 1/2-teaspoon serving
Comments: Our testers preferred it mixed with a favorite food. Harry has his mixed in chocolate milk. Try it in a spoonful of lemon yogurt.

Coromega Kids Omega3 Squeeze (orange flavor) (#CommissionsEarned)
Benefits: Portable, single-dose packets; clinically proven to deliver 300 percent better absorption than softgels
Serving: 284 mg of omega 3s per 2. 5-g packet
Comments: Our tasters weren’t thrilled with taking it straight. Mixing it in a smoothie or yogurt helped a lot.

Barlean’s Kid’s Omega Swirl (lemonade flavor) (#CommissionsEarned)
Benefits: Nine times more absorbable than regular fish oil; has the taste and texture of a smoothie
Serving: 720 mg of omega-3s per 2-teaspoon serving
Comments: All three kids liked it straight. Says Harry: “Double thumbs up.” Says Natalie: “Mmm, ahh, yummy. I could drink it all down.”

SaviSeed (cocoa-kissed flavor)
Benefits: Super-seeds from the rainforests of Peru; richest source of omega 3s, 13 times as much per serving as wild salmon
Serving: 7 g of omega 3s per 1-ounce serving
Comments: All three testers liked the taste at first, but were less pleased when the chocolate coating gave way to the earthy taste of the seed inside. Try having kids wash it down with chocolate milk.

Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Effervescent (creamy orange flavor) (#CommissionsEarned)
Benefits: Fun to drink as the powder creates fizzy bubbles when dissolved in water; convenient single-serving packets; added vitamin D3
Serving: 670 mg of omega 3s per 9.7-g packet
Comments: One of the three testers went for this one. Natalie: “Mmm. That’s good!” Instead of water, try mixing it in lemonade or orange juice.

[Read This Next: The ADHD Food Fix]

Research-Based Formulations Specifically for ADHD

Equazen Pro, a new Omega-3 supplement, manages omega-3 fatty acid deficiency to nutritionally support focus and attention in children with ADHD or ADHD-type symptoms. It was formulated to address a LC-PUFA deficiency caused by genetic abnormalities that is linked to ADD-type symptoms.

In addition, several vegetarian options do exist, including products like this: Purity Omega.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends treating ADHD in children and adolescents aged 6 to 18 with FDA-approved medications, plus parent training in behavior modification and behavioral classroom interventions. Research studies like this one conducted by scientists at McGill University have found that “stimulant medications are most effective, and combined medication and psychosocial treatment is the most beneficial treatment option for most adult patients with ADHD.” All ADHD treatment decisions should be made in consultation and coordination with a licensed medical provider.

ADDitude Resources

  • Read This Next: 12 Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • 6 Essential (and Often-Overlooked) Supplements for ADHD
  • “ADHD and Fish Oil Supplements: What’s a Safe Dosage?”

Update 12/2020: An earlier version of this article misidentified DHA as an omega-6 fatty acid. DHA is an omega-3.

As an Amazon Associate, ADDitude earns a commission from qualifying purchases made by ADDitude readers on the affiliate links we share. However, all products linked in the ADDitude Store have been independently selected by our editors and/or recommended by our readers. Prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.


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Omega-3 Benefits to ADHD Brains: Fish Oil for Focus

There’s a reason why the American Psychiatric Association recommends that every man, woman, and child in America eat fish — particularly fatty fish, like salmon and tuna — two or more times a week. And why they also recommend that people with “impulse control disorders,” like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), supplement their daily diets with at least 1 gram of fish oil. The reason: Omega-3 fatty acids really do help brains, particularly ADHD ones, function better.

The Right Fat to Optimize the ADHD Brain

Sixty percent of your brain is composed of fat — which means that your brain depends on a steady supply of dietary fat for its health and wellbeing. Specifically, it depends on essential fatty acids (EFA), the building blocks of fat. Fatty fish and fish oil supply two of the most important essential fatty acids for your brain: EPA, or eicosapentaenoic acid; and DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid. Both fatty acids are omega-3s, a chemical label indicating the placement of carbon atoms in a fat molecule. But omega is also the Greek word for great—because when enough omega-3 is doing its work, it does a great job of protecting your brain. But if levels are low:

  • The outer covering (membrane) of brain cells (neurons) degenerates.
  • Neurons make less serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps control mental activity and mood.
  • Cellular receptors for the neurotransmitter dopamine become malformed, which results in lower dopamine levels.
  • Dendrites, the branching extensions that channel messages into and out of neurons, make fewer branches.
  • There are fewer synapses, the bridges between neurons.

In short, just about every aspect of neurotransmission — the movement of information from brain cell to brain cell that supports every thought, emotion, and action — is affected by omega-3s. Omega-3s also protect the brain by decreasing low-grade inflammation, the chronic cellular fire that can singe brain cells.

Bottom line: A deficiency of omega-3s is bad news for a child’s or adult’s brain. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate a diet with a ratio of about 2 to 1 omega-6s to omega-3s. Today, we eat a diet with the ratio of 15 to 1. This double whammy — a barrage of omega-6s and a paucity of omega-3s — is a little-recognized factor in the symptoms of ADHD.

[Get This Free Resource: Fish Oil Treatments for ADHD Symptoms]

Little-recognized by doctors but not by scientists. There have been more studies conducted on the link between ADHD and omega-3s than on any other nutrient. Let’s look at some of the best research.

The Power of Omega-3s to Affect the ADHD Brain

From prevention to treatment, omega-3s play a key role in ADHD.

  • Eating fewer omega-3s increases the risk of developing ADHD. In a study of nearly 200 schoolchildren, those who ate a diet low in omega-3s had a 31 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with ADHD.
  • Children diagnosed with ADHD have lower blood levels of omega-3s. Blood levels of omega-3s in children with ADHD are, on average, 38 percent lower than in children who don’t have the disorder, according to an analysis of nine studies by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University. In a study of 493 schoolchildren, those with lower blood levels of DHA had more defiance, hostility, mood swings, and learning difficulties. And a study from English scientists showed that children with ADHD and low levels of omega-3s had poor “emotion processing” (the ability to understand and respond to emotions) and poor emotion regulation.
  • Low omega-3s in children with ADHD may be genetic. Remember, ADHD is not a behavioral problem. It’s a medical disorder, usually with a genetic component that creates a shortfall of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Scientists at MRC Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre in London decided to find out if the genetic profile of ADHD extended to essential fatty acids. They studied 180 children with ADHD and 180 without the disorder, and found that the ADHD children had a 60 to 70 percent greater likelihood of a variation in a gene necessary to metabolize fatty acids.
  • Disorderly brain waves—with low omega-3s. ADHD children with low blood levels of DHA have a type of disorderly brain activity linked to ADHD, according to a study in the journal Neuropharmacology.

[Download Now: Free Guide to Natural ADHD Treatment Options]

Studies That Show Omega-3 Benefits for ADHD Brains

  • Supplementing with omega-3s eases hyperactivity. Analyzing data from 16 studies on ADHD and omega-3s, researchers at Oregon Health & Science University found that supplementing the diet with omega-3s consistently lessens hyperactivity, as evaluated by parents and teachers. “There is sufficient evidence to consider omega-3 fatty acids as a possible supplement to established [medication and behavioral] therapies” in ADHD, the researchers concluded in the journal Clinical Psychology Review.
  • Less inattention, less hyperactivity, less disobedience, less hostility — and better spelling, too. These were among the symptom-relieving benefits experienced by children with ADHD who took an omega-3 supplement every day for four months, according to Australian researchers.
  • Better memory, better learning. Studying 95 children diagnosed with ADHD, German researchers found that supplementing with omega-3s improved “working memory” — the short-term recall that is key to learning.
  • Putting sleeping problems to bed — with omega-3s. Israeli researchers studied 78 ADHD children (ages nine to 12) with sleep problems, giving them either an omega-3/omega-6 supplement or a placebo. (The supplement contained gamma-linoleic acid, or GLA, an omega-6 essential fatty acid found in evening primrose oil, borage oil, and currant oil.) After 10 weeks, the children taking the supplement slept better, were less fatigued during the day, and were better able to cooperate with others.

Does Your Child Need an Omega-3 Supplement?

Parents often ask me: “Does my child need to take an omega-3 supplement?” Unfortunately, that isn’t always an easy question to answer. For one thing, there are no clear, overt signs of an omega-3 deficiency, as there are with other nutrients like magnesium (sleep problems, anxiety, and constipation). My clinical experience has shown that months or years of taking a high-dose omega-3 supplement (more than four grams a day) can actually create an imbalance in essential fatty acids. Too much of the omega-3s DHA and EPA can drive down levels of the omega-6 GLA.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t any telltale signs of a deficiency of essential fatty acids. A child with frequent thirst, frequent urination, and/or allergies is likely to need a high dose (above two grams daily) of omega-3s. A child with a skin disorder — eczema or “chicken skin” (the bumps that dermatologists call keratosis pilaris) — may have a GLA deficiency and need supplementation.

The Best No-Test Strategy for Supplementation

If your child doesn’t have any overt signs of an omega-3 deficiency, and you and your doctor don’t plan to test for a deficiency, I suggest that your child take a daily fish oil supplement that supplies a total of one to two grams of DHA and EPA. In my practice, I use a supplement that combines EPA/DHA and GLA, for a total of three grams per day of essential fatty acids. If the supplement you choose contains 800 mg of EPA, 400 mg of DHA, and 100 mg of GLA per capsule or serving size, you would take it two to three times daily.

[Read This Next: 6 How-Tos About Omega-3 Fatty Acids]

Adapted from Finally Focused: The Breakthrough Natural Treatment Plan for ADHD that Restores Attention, Minimizes Hyperactivity, and Helps Eliminate Drug Side Effects (#CommissionsEarned). Copyright © 2017 by JAMES GREENBLATT, M.D., and BILL GOTTLIEB, CHC. Published by Harmony Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Add Omega-3s and Subtract Sugar for Better Behavior

Some experts think that chronic sugar intake causes ADHD, but my clinical experience with thousands of children with ADHD doesn’t confirm that. But sugar does contribute to the symptoms of ADHD in many children — and cutting back on sugar usually helps.

If you can help your child with ADHD reduce or remove sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) — soft drinks, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks — you’ll reduce or remove the largest source of sugar in her diet. A recent study by the Yale School of Public Health found that the risk of hyperactivity and inattention increased by 14 percent for each sweetened beverage consumed daily.

Research shows that keeping your child’s blood sugar balanced is the key factor in keeping his brain and behavior balanced. Do your best to get your child to eat protein-rich foods—nut butters, whole-grain bread, lean meat, and so on — throughout the day. That steady supply of slow-digesting protein will help keep blood glucose levels steady. Some sample foods include nut butters; whole-grain bread; eggs; Greek yogurt; lean chicken, turkey, or tuna; hummus; and protein-fortified cereals that are low in sugar.

Turbocharge Omega-3s—with Phosphatidylserine

Parents who give their child with ADHD omega-3 supplements often ask me what else they can do to help. A supplement I often suggest is phosphatidylserine (PS).

This nutritional compound is a type of phospholipid, a fat that helps form the outer covering (membrane) of cells, including brain cells. Neurons with healthy membranes do a better job of communicating with each other—resulting in more balanced emotions and better behavior.

Studies show that adding PS to omega-3s improves ADHD symptoms, but it can work by itself. Children who took PS alone had better attention, less impulsivity and restlessness, and better short-term memory. My recommendation is 200 to 300 mg. daily of PS, in 100 mg. doses, taken at two or three meals. (Example: 100 mg. at breakfast and 100 mg. at dinner.)

#CommissionsEarned As an Amazon Associate, ADDitude earns a commission from qualifying purchases made by ADDitude readers on the affiliate links we share. However, all products linked in the ADDitude Store have been independently selected by our editors and/or recommended by our readers. Prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication

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Vitamins OSLOMEGA Kids Omega-3 Fish Oil Norwegian Omega-3 Fish Oil for Kids Natural Lemon Flavor - “Not the Best Considering the Ingredients”

Hello everyone!

I have scoured the internet for the current approach to treating ADHD in children.

I am interested in non-drug care for my child with ADHD.

Recently, the concept of nutritional support for ADHD has become clear. The use of micronutrients such as omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (especially in the form of DHA), iodine, zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, lecithin is based on the fundamental mechanisms of the action of these nutrients on brain biochemistry.

Magnesium and Omena 3 (PUFAs) are especially important.

I bought on lherb OSLOMEGA Kids Omega-3 Fish Oil Norwegian series.

This is an omega-3 fish oil for children with a natural lemon flavor.

The main role of omega-3 PUFAs is to ensure the functioning of cell membranes, transmembrane ion channels and the regulation of physiological processes through the synthesis of lipid mediators. EPA and DHA are incorporated into the phospholipid layer of cell membranes, affecting their fluidity by altering key functions such as enzymatic activity, signaling, and receptor function. Essential fatty acids promote the growth of neurons and the formation of synapses, therefore, affect the transmission and processing of signals, in addition, regulate gene expression in the brain.

Oslomega fish oil for children is packaged in a 200 ml plastic container, has a slightly yellowish color and a pronounced smell and taste of natural lemon.

This makes it much easier for a child to take fish oil.

The daily allowance is 1/2 teaspoon with meals.

The daily norm contains 230 mg of DHA - docosahexaenoic acid, which is extremely important for the brain and the body as a whole, due to the impossibility of synthesizing inside our body.

This is a very good daily dose of DHA.

When buying, I did not fully study the composition and did not notice in the additional ingredients - a mixture of tocopherols from soy.

This made me sad, as boys are not recommended to give products containing soy because of the effect on reproductive function.

After opening, store in the refrigerator for a maximum of 3 months.

But the volume of 200 ml lasts only 2 months.

This moment lowered the rating of this product.

The child tolerates OSLOMEGA Kids Omega-3 Fish Oil well. No belching, gurgling, or abdominal pain, no change in stool.

Its consistency is like liquid butter, absolutely tasteless, easy to swallow.

I give Omega 3 with vitamin D3 and Lecithin and it seems to me that the child's immunity has increased, he has become less sick.

Overall I liked OSLOMEGA Kids Omega-3 Fish Oil.

This concludes, thank you for your attention!

How to treat ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Photo from

Read the first part of the article (on the diagnosis of ADHD) here.

Passionate controversy accompanies the use of drugs. In the United States, stimulants are used to treat the symptoms of ADHD, the most common of which is Ritalin (methylphenidad). Their use is sharply criticized by some experts, the public, the World Health Organization expresses concern about them, but a number of medical agencies insist on the effectiveness and safety of stimulants.

Studies confirming the efficacy of stimulants and counter-work demonstrating ineffectiveness, harmful side effects, and the risk of cocaine addiction in adolescence in long-term stimulant users could be the subject of a separate article.

Both in the West and in Russia, antipsychotic drugs (Sonapax, Neuleptil, Rispolept, Abilify, Seroquel) are widely used to reduce hyperactivity and excitability of a child. Meanwhile, studies show that these drugs reduce the volume of brain tissue, not to mention such side effects as weight gain, increased blood cholesterol levels, increased blood pressure, the development of diabetes, tremors, up to tardive dyskinesia.

In the UK, the right to prescribe antipsychotics is given not only to narrow specialists, but also to pediatricians. In 2011, the British found that over the past 10 years, the number of children taking these drugs has doubled, and among them there are many who are barely 5 years old.

This made a strong impression on the government, which decided to allocate 32 million pounds to expand mental health services for children and adolescents.

As mentioned in the first part of the article, it is very important to conduct a medical examination of a child with ADHD. In some cases, by taking control of physical problems, it is possible to reduce the symptoms of hyperactivity and impaired attention. For example, this happens when the normal blood supply to the brain is restored after the correction of birth injuries of the cervical spine.

In Russia, to improve brain metabolism, increase cortical tone, children with ADHD are often prescribed nootropic drugs (piracetam, encephabol, akatinol memantine, glycine, phenibut). We often hear from doctors that they observe a positive effect of drugs in their practice, but their effectiveness has not been clinically proven.

The image of a child with an unnamed diagnosis of ADHD - inattentive in class, poorly done, unorganized in everyday life - is often used to advertise multivitamins. I drank the Alphabet and immediately mastered the alphabet and other academic knowledge and skills. In fact, it is unlikely that multivitamins will produce just such an effect. This does not exclude the possibility that a number of specific nutrients may have a positive effect on ADHD symptoms.

There are studies (like this one) that show a lack of omega-3 fatty acids in children and adolescents with ADHD, as well as a positive effect of taking them (like this). The best source of omega-3 fatty acids is fish oil, which is beneficial in many ways and has no harmful side effects, except for individual intolerance.

In this French study, 40 children with symptoms of ADHD were given vitamin B6 (0.6 mg per 1 kg of body weight) and magnesium (6 mg per 1 kg of body weight) daily for 8 weeks. The study participants significantly decreased hyperactivity and aggressiveness, and improved attention. Children in the control group who took placebo showed no such changes. A few weeks after the end of the course, the symptoms of ADHD in children from the experimental group resumed, which also indicates that the improvements were provided precisely by the intake of B6 and magnesium.

For a child and adolescent with ADHD, dietary patterns are important. Some parents are very happy with the effects of a gluten-free/casein-free diet (eliminating the protein gluten found in wheat, rye and a number of other grains, and casein found in milk), which is often recommended for children with autism who share some of the common symptoms of ADHD. (Mercy published a detailed article on the gluten-free diet). Others praise the sugar-free diet (excluding polysaccharides, that is, sucrose and starches), which is also called the specific carbohydrate diet or paleo diet in Russian-language sources, and SCD, GAPS, Paleo Diet in English-language sources.

A recent meta-analysis by Danish scientists suggests that the best results in ADHD were achieved by elimination diets that eliminated certain foods that provoke hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. By the way, the same study also revealed the usefulness of fish oil for children with ADHD.

Experts advise parents to identify foods to which a child may have an individual intolerance. To do this, you need to rotate products, alternately removing them from the diet for a week or two, observing the severity of ADHD symptoms and evaluating the result.

Dr. Richard Sogn, a child psychiatrist and one of America's leading experts on ADHD, believes that anything that is good for the brain is good for children with ADHD. First of all, their diet should be rich in protein in the form of meat, eggs, nuts, cheese, legumes. He advises to give these products to the child for breakfast, and also as a snack between lessons.

Carbohydrates are necessary, but in the form of vegetables and fruits, but sugar, sweets, flour products, rice and potatoes should be eliminated or severely limited. It is important to include fish and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as walnuts, Brazil nuts, olive oil, and canola oil in your diet.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding foods with preservatives and artificial food coloring in children with ADHD, and some experts say that all food additives should be avoided.

The most important method of treating ADHD are behavioral therapies: for children, this is primarily Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), for adolescents and young people - cognitive behavioral therapy (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).

Applied Behavior Analysis is considered the gold standard in behavioral intervention for autistic children in the US and the UK, but is also being applied to children with ADHD.

In Russia, this method appeared not so long ago and mainly due to the efforts of parents-activists with the continuing resistance of domestic defectology and correctional pedagogy, who declared this therapy to be training. Such an opinion can only be formed with a very superficial acquaintance with this technique. In fact, it is based on a careful analysis of the child's behavior, allowing to identify his strengths and weaknesses and create a carefully structured behavior modification program based on the encouragement of the desired behavior of the child.

Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to find a competent behavioral analyst and therapist outside the capital, but many parents complete distance courses, participate in conferences, seminars and webinars in order to learn the basics of therapy and help their child on their own. (You can learn more about this in the group "Autism Problem Center").

There are also home behavioral strategies that experts recommend parents use :