ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, has become a buzzword in the educational community. Children are more commonly being diagnosed with this disorder at earlier ages. Their disruptive behavior has been curbed by the use of many different types of medications that have been reported to sedate or otherwise alter the personalities of children.
There is a new study, however, that has found promising results in the reduction of ADHD symptoms. Rats were administered Omega-3 fatty acids and the results of this research shows that ADHD symptoms can be curbed.
Because ADHD is primarily considered a behavioral problem, physiological causes have not been researched as regularly and medication is being prescribed to reduce the symptoms but not help with the cause.
Omega-3 intake is causing researchers to rethink their approach to a more biological one. Molecular changes that occur after the ingestion of Omega-3 fatty acids indicate that there is likely a biological factor.
The rats that were used in the testing are common rats who have a genetic anomaly that after puberty causes hypertension. Before they reach adulthood, however, they display many of the same traits as children who suffer from ADHD, namely hyperactivity, trouble concentrating, and impulsive behaviors.
In some of the experiments, mother rats were given Omega-3 in their diets before their pups were born. A control group of these genetically mutated rats did not get the Omega-3 fatty acids.
The testing was done after the rat pups were separated from their mothers. They were given a reward of a drop of water if they pushed a button. The pups who were in the control group--those not given Omega-3--were unable to concentrate long enough to push the button, while those in the Omega-3 group were more able to earn their reward of water.
These findings created new research at the molecular level. Neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin were found to turn over much more rapidly in the rats whose mothers were given Omega-3 than those who were not.