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Effects of an open-label pilot study with high-dose EPA/DHA concentrates on plasma phospholipids and behavior in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

DOI: 10.1186/1475-2891-6-16

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Nine children were initially supplemented with 16.2 g EPA/DHA concentrates per day. The dosage was adjusted dependent on the ratio of arachidonic acid (AA) to EPA in the isolated plasma phospholipids at four weeks to reach a level normally found in the Japanese population.At the end of the eight-week study, supplementation resulted in significant increases in EPA and DHA, as well as a significant reduction in the AA:EPA ratio (20.78 ± 5.26 to 5.95 ± 7.35, p < 0.01). A psychiatrist (blind to supplement compliance or dosage modifications) reported significant improvements in behavior (inattention, hyperactivity, oppositional/defiant behavior, and conduct disorder). There was also a significant correlation between the reduction in the AA:EPA ratio and global severity of illness scores.The findings of this small pilot study suggest supplementation with high-dose EPA/DHA concentrates may improve behavior in children with ADHD.Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurological condition characterized by the inability to concentrate in a sustained manner, to pay attention to tasks, and to control impulsive actions [1]. It is estimated that 3 to 7 percent of children have this disorder, and boys are affected to a much greater extent than girls [2]. As many as 60 to 80 percent of children with ADHD continue to have problems with this condition as they become adults [1]. The etiology appears to be multi-factorial with both genetic and environmental influences. Among these influences is an observed decrease in long-chain (LC) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in children with ADHD. Some proposed mechanisms for the low levels of PUFAs include insufficient dietary intake, inefficient conversion of shorter chain PUFAs to LC PUFAs or rapid metabolism of LC PUFAs [3]. Stevens et al. [4,5] found that young boys with ADHD and symptoms of essential fatty acid (EFA) deficiency (excessive thirst, dry skin and hair, brittle nails, frequent urination and/or hyperfollicula

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