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Teleseminar Speaker Laurel Sterling, MA, RDN, CDN,
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NEW RESEARCH: Positive Effects of Omega-3 Fats for Young and Old

A small study was conducted recently to evaluate the effects of omega-3 fats on children with ADHD. Half of the children in the study served as a control group and did not have a diagnosis of ADHD. Each group was divided in half; half the ADHD and non-ADHD groups consumed an omega-3-enriched margarine product daily, and the other half of each group consumed regular margarine as a control.

The children (both ADHD and control group) that consumed the omega-3 fats demonstrated a slight improvement in their attention problems, as rated by their parents. The improvement was greater for the kids with ADHD, although they were also taking stimulant medications with the omegas. There are previous studies reporting that kids with ADHD have lower levels of omega-3 fats in their system. The benefits of omega-3 were small, yet one researcher concluded "This (omega-3 fats) might augment the effect of the medication." This study was only 16 weeks long, so it is possible that more dramatic improvements would be seen if omega-3 supplementation occurred over a longer time period, as a holistic physician would prescribe.

Previous studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids benefit the brain. One study, conducted in the Netherlands, tracked the fish consumption of 210 healthy men age 70 to 89 over a five-year period. All of the men started the study with stable cognitive function. At the study's conclusion, the men who did not consume any fish (an excellent source of EPA and DHA )Omega-3s experienced cognitive decline four times greater than men who consumed fish on a regular basis. In this study, a clear doseresponse relationship demonstrated that daily consumption of a total of 400 mg of EPA and DHA Omega-3s was protective against decline in cognitive function.

Another study, conducted in the U.S., followed over 2,000 middle-aged adults over nine years. By the end of the study, those who had higher blood levels of Omega-3s had significantly better verbal fluency than those with low levels.


REFERENCES:
March 19, 2015, Neuropsychopharmacology The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007 http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/ fullstory_151562.html



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