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Supplementation with Docosahexaenoic Acid Ameliorates Paediatric AD/HD Open Access


Other title
Fatty Acids
Omega 3
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Ivity, Ellen M
Supervisor and department
Rinaldi, Christina (Educational Psychology)
Clandinin, Michael T. (Medicine)
Examining committee member and department
Urichuk, Liana (Psychiatry)
Mazurak, Vera ( Agriculture, Forestry and Nutritional Science)
Andrews, Jac (Education, University of Calgary)
Department of Educational Psychology
Department of Medicine

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) is the most prevalent paediatric neurodevelopmental disorder. Research implicates a deficiency of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the aetiology of AD/HD. Supplementation with DHA may improve symptoms of AD/HD in children diagnosed with the disorder. Study One examined plasma phospholipid levels of AA and DHA in 103 children between the ages of 5 and 12 years diagnosed with AD/HD. Blood and buccal swab samples were collected and fatty acid profiles were compared to those of typically functioning children. Medical symptom questionnaires were completed to identify physical symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency and four-day diet records were completed to measure dietary intakes of DHA. Study Two examined effects of supplementation with DHA on symptoms of AD/HD in 39 children. Children were between the ages of 5 and 13 years. Half the children received a supplement containing either 700 mg or 1050 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per day and the control group received a placebo for 4 months. Results: Children with AD/HD had mean plasma phospholipid levels of AA and DHA about half those of normal children despite both groups consuming similar intakes of DHA. This finding suggests children with AD/HD are deficient in AA and DHA and this may be due to metabolic differences rather than dietary intake. Children in the supplement group whose plasma phospholipid DHA levels increased, experienced significant improvements in inattention when assessed with the Conners 3, compared to children whose DHA levels remained constant or decreased. No improvements were observed in the control group. This study suggests that alternative or adjunct treatments to medication may be developed for children diagnosed with AD/HD.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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