Monday, September 22, 2014

Research Update on Omega 3 EPA and ADHD in Children

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a disorder with far reaching implications for children beyond its compromising effect on school achievements. ADHD has been linked to symptoms of anxiety, depression (1, 2) and impaired interpersonal relationships (2,3). One of the symptoms that characterize ADHD is the failure to recognize facial expressions which in turn causes difficulties in responding appropriately to social situations (3).

The ability to read correctly facial expressions and respond to them is important for successful interactions and healthy relationships with peers and family. One way scientists measure the ability to recognize social situations and react accordingly is through testing facial expression recognition.

An ongoing, double blind, placebo controlled, intervention study conducted by Granot et al. found that high EPA supplementation (500 mg EPA, 100 mg DHA daily) resulted in improvement of facial expression recognition and especially in recognition of happy faces, in 9-16 year old children diagnosed with ADHD and treated with Methylphenidate (MPH – commonly known as Ritalin). Interim results of this study were presented at the 2014 International Neuropsychological Society Mid-Year meeting. These results are shown in the figure below.

A significant difference over time was found in the treatment group for Happy facial expression recognition (t (25)= 2.57, p=0.016) 
T1 = before treatment / T2 = after treatment

These promising findings indicate improved social skills and raised optimism levels as a result of omega 3 high EPA supplementation. This is good news for children and parents coping with the challenges of ADHD, especially given the limitations of traditional Ritalin therapy.

While Ritalin is very effective in addressing impulsivity and improving focus and attention, it offers only slight improvement in emotional stability. Furthermore, Ritalin does not address other ADHD symptoms such as depression, anxiety, psychosomatic complaints and difficulty in successfully engaging in social situations. Omega 3 high EPA supplementation may complement traditional ADHD therapies and help these children deal with the emotional challenges concomitant with the disorder.

EPA is a central ingredient in Anlit's new Omega 3 Focus supplement that will be presented at the upcoming CPhI conference in Paris, October 7-9. For more information about this and other children focused supplement products, please visit us at booth 4G80, hall 4, at the conference. Click here to schedule a meeting with us at the conference. We look forward to seeing you there.


1. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2001;40:704-10

2. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin North Am. 1992;1:539-52

3. Pediatric Neurology. 2006;35:93-97

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