Supplementation with Docosahexaenoic Acid Ameliorates Paediatric AD/HD

  • Author / Creator
    Ivity, Ellen M
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2015
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.