Fish Oil for ADHD

fishoilpills2I have known for most of my career that DHA in particular, and fish oil in general, was beneficial for the brain. It makes sense that those with ADHD or ADD, or anyone with less than optimal brain function (that includes all of us), could benefit form taking additional fish oil. When I have had families who are totally opposed to trying stimulant medications, I have found that fish oil is a great place to start.  I would add to that avoiding ongoing toxins (don’t get mercury/”silver” dental fillings, eat organic, and drink filtered water), and take extra vitamin D, as well as having a good source of multivitamins/minerals with adequate B vitamins and folate.  Consider special diets, extra probiotics,  and vitamin C. 

I have had a few patients who have had a wonderful experience and obviously benefit form the omega-3 (fish oil) supplements. I tend to favor highly-purified oil that is high in DHA (what the brain needs most).

What I like to have my patients consider, especially if their child is failing in school and starting to experience the low self esteem that can come with school failure is this: The issue is not of intelligence, most children with ADHD are way above average intelligence. They just can’t focus enough to retain information or to make the necessary connections between what they are learning and how it applies to other situations or perhaps to the test questions.  Consider medication, while we do all the natural things that will ultimately result in elimination of toxins and normalizing function.  ADHD is not Ritalin (methylphenidate) or Adderall (amphetamine) deficiency.  Once we address the toxins that are causing problems, food sensitivities that are creating brain fog, or the nutritional deficiencies that are impairing normal cell function, your child’s normal brain function will return and the need for support with medication will be a thing of the past.  

Remember that the half life of certain toxins is measured in years.  It may take a decade or longer to get some of these out of the body, and in the meantime, your child may be falling further and further behind due to an inability to stay focused.

The article link below favors fish oil for ADHD.  I agree with it’s benefit, but I have also seen many for whom medication is miraculous.  I would encourage you to consider it ,as the benefits can be huge and side effects are temporary.  You can always stop it if you don’t like the side effects.

For my own children who could not tolerate medications, tutoring and organizational support has made the biggest difference, though I’ll never know to what extent avoiding ongoing toxins and taking supplements (including B-12) played a role.  I know for sure that we had a jump in focus and abilities when we had mercury fillings removed.  In our case, it seemed that B-12 shots were helpful, but when I studied this in over 100 children, the obvious benefits of the B-12 as shots was only seen in a small percentage of those children.  

The beauty of our bodies is that they will heal in time.  Our role as parents is to love and support our children, and when toxins are involved, do all we can to speed up the process of getting those toxins out of the body. Remember, perhaps the biggest thing you can do is to make sure you are not continuing to put toxins into their bodies.

Eat organic
Drink filtered water
Don’t get silver fillings at the dentist

 http://weeksmd.com/2008/01/fish-oil-and-addadhd/

Dr. Paul

 

4 comments

  • Shondra

    Hi Dr. Paul,
    I appreciate the information you have here on your blog and in your videos! I am wondering if you have recommendations on the daily amount of Omgea-3, Magnesium, Calcium, B-6 and B-12 we should consider for children to promote optimal brain functioning?

    • Paul Thomas, M.D.

      Omega-3: 20-60 mg/Kg a day or 600 – 1800 for a 30 Kg (60 lb) kid. For younger infants and toddlers use more DHA and older can be more balanced ratio of DHA to EPA.
      Magnesium 50-150 mg a day
      Calcium 50 to 1000 mg a day
      B6 1-40 mg a day (more is generally better as it’s water soluble and no toxicity)
      B-12 5-500 micrograms a day (more is better and water soluble so no toxicity).

      Dr. Paul

  • Shondra

    Thank you so much for your response. I am having trouble wading though the variety of options of supplements available out there, all with varying amounts of each vitamin/mineral and would value your input greatly. Is there a specific multi-vitamin and/or product(s) you recommend that provide the right balance when trying to help with these cognitive problems? For example, should give my child a multi-vitamin and add a B-6 and a B-12 (since it seems that the multi does not contain enough), and add an Omega 3? If so, do you have specific products of each that you recommend? Also, does the use of Evening Primrose oil or 5-HTP in conjunction add any benefit?

    • Paul Thomas, M.D.

      You have figured it out! Yes, I would add B-6 and B-12 if your multivitamin has low levels of these. Yes, I would add omega-3 and it’s ok for most to add the 5-HTP and evening primrose. For specific products, we do carry some in my office and for my patients that list is available and as part of a visit specific recommendations can be made.

      Dr. Paul

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