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Omega 3s May Help Calm Some Children With ADD Or ADHD

Mar 21, 2008
Do you have a child that has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? Does treating your child, or children, with one of today's most common treatments for these conditions with an amphetamine-type drug like 'Ritalin' bother your conscious feelings of guilt?

If so, you are not alone. As a concerned parent, you are probably aware that prescriptions for chemical interventions for ADD and ADHD in children have steadily risen, dramatically,over the past few decades, along with the prevalence of these learning disorders themselves. In fact, it is estimated that about 7 percent of all children currently (more boys than girls) are suffering from this emotional sneak thief of their childhood in being able to properly enjoy the love of learning.

Because of the inherent side effects associated with chemical options, this is beginning to raise some serious questions by concerned medical health professionals,parents,and child wellness advocacy groups in whether they are being over prescribed, or inappropriately prescribed for children.

In layman's terms, children who have been diagnosed with having these learning disabilities are suffering from, mainly, behavioral symptoms that limit their ability to learn new ideas,informational material, and social etiquette appropriate for their age.

Youngsters with ADD symptoms often bounce from one task to another without finishing most of them, or skipping important steps in trying to complete them. They often have difficulties in organizing their schoolwork assignments and lack an ability to structure their free-time productively.

With ADHD symptoms, the child is more physically active along with ADD symptom deficits. These kids exhibit more impulsive forms of inappropriate behaviors such as:

1. squirming and having trouble staying seated
2. moves around constantly, runs and climbs at inappropriate times
3. has trouble being quiet with sedentary activities
4. talks excessively
5. blurts out answers before questions are completed
6. speaks tactlessly or inappropriately
7. interrupts or intrudes on others

The latest clinical studies, built on from earlier ones, suggest that increasing dietary omega-3 EFAs (essential fatty acids) may dramatically lower some of these kids patterned behavioral problems of inattentiveness,hyperactivity, and impulsiveness associated with these disorders. Omega 3 fatty acids are now being recognized as important dietary nutrients that can not be manufactured by the body, and must be obtained by eating food sources that are high in their content. Because of their relative scarceness in the typical western diet many children, and adults, are severely deficient in omega-3 nutrition.

For children, from the moment of conception until birth and continuing on until age two, it is absolutely vital that they receive sufficient amounts of this fatty acid for healthy brain formation. Beyond the age of two it continues to be one of the main nutrients needed for healthy functioning of the brain at any age.

Omega 3s direct connection to healthy brain formation, performance, and functioning is continually being supported by an ongoing, and growing, body of scientific evidence to prove this theory rather quickly. When comparing children who have ADD or ADHD to those who do not, children that have these learning disabilities have much lower blood levels of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). DHA is an omega-3 essential fatty acid component necessary for normal eye functioning and in the cerebral cortex ( the area in the brain that performs the higher cognitive functions of reasoning and memory).

As a parent who would prefer not to treat their child's behavioral symptoms of ADD or ADHD with narcotics, and would like to implement correctional dietary methods instead, incorporating all three forms of omega 3s, DHA,EPA (eicosapentaenoic), and ALA, is recommended by most experts. Dr. Mark Stein, who runs a University of Chicago clinic for children and adults with these disorders, says to combine seafood or quality fish oil supplements with milled (ground) flax seeds. Flax seed contains the master key omega-3 substance called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is the plant form of the omega 3s of which fish eat, and unlocks the synthesis of DHA. And, while the conversion rate from ALA to DHA is quite low, ALA may have benefits in improving behavioral symptoms of these disorders that we do not fully understand yet.

The synthesis of omega 3s are also competitively slowed within the body by the over consumption of omega 6s, which are found, in over abundance, in the typical modern diet.

In conclusion, omega 3s for the treatment of ADD or ADHD symptoms would have a better chance of succeeding if one would drastically lower their omega-6 consumption of vegetable seed oils, hydrogenated or not, like canola, sunflower, safflower, and soybean which is abundant in most all popular brands of processed foods.

Along with a diet lower in processed foods, increasing your child's fresh fruit and vegetable intakes of whole plant foods could be a boost their brain may need also. If you think you might have some difficulty getting your children to eat more, you might like to try adding a whole food supplement to cover some of the bases in this food group. Juice Plus is such a supplement, and has a chewable gummi that young children love.

Reducing, or eliminating, sugary manufactured beverages and increasing pure water intakes would help promote clearer brain functioning and performance as well. A well hydrated brain just plain out performs one that is dehydrated.

And, children who have been ridiculed by others in making them feel ashamed of their mental learning impairments could be struggling with unresolved emotional issues due to being labeled a disorder by their teachers, families, and peers. Learning the basics of the Emotional Freedom Technique could help your young one to love and accept themselves, and help them to adhere to a diet plan that will help improve their physical condition.
About the Author
Brenda Skidmore has spent the last five years actively researching natural health care alternatives. It is her sincere desire to empower others by sharing this important information. To improve your health today visit
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