Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a growing
problem in children and teenagers in western countries, with
statistics suggesting that five per cent of the general population
in the UK have ADHD.
Definition of ADHD
In Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - A Natural Way
to Treat ADHD leading medical professor and researcher, Professor
Puri, devotes a whole chapter to the question: what is ADHD?
There is much to say on the subject and anyone interested
in learning more would definitely be advised to read this
Nevertheless, in essence ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity
Disorder) has three basic features, which are as follows:
inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. The levels of
these features vary from person to person.
The condition affects children and adults and core symptoms
include an inability to remain attentive or to concentrate,
the propensity to become very easily distracted, as well as
the display of inappropriate levels of activity and impulsivity.
The activity is sometimes characterised by fidgeting and general
restlessness; the impulsivity can present itself as inappropriate
speech (i.e. blurting out words when it is not suitable to
do so) or hitting out. Children with ADHD may be unable to
sit still or pay attention in the classroom, for example.
How Fatty Acids Help ADHD
Some leading researchers believe that ADHD results from a
fatty acid deficiency. Dr Alex Richardson, Senior Research
Fellow, Mansfield College, University of Oxford, and University
Laboratory of Physiology, University of Oxford, is a world-leading
authority on fatty acids and ADHD, dyslexia and autistic spectrum
disorder. In a paper published in 2003, entitled Fatty Acids
in Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD, and the Autistic Spectrum, Dr
Richardson explains that:
"Scientific evidence suggests that imbalances or deficiencies
of certain highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA) may contribute
to a range of behavioural and learning difficulties including
ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and autistic spectrum disorders.
This could help to explain the strong familial associations
between these conditions and their common overlap within the
"Research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids are more
likely to help than omega-6 (although both are important for
optimal brain function). Of the omega-3 fatty acids, the latest
evidence indicates that it is EPA - not DHA - that is likely
to be most beneficial for these purposes."
Fatty acids are fundamental for our health and well-being
as they are essential constituents of every living cell in
the human body. EPA is an omega-3 fatty acid, which derives
from oily fish. GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid, which derives
from virgin evening primrose oil.
Without enough fatty acids, communication between our cells
ceases to operate properly, which, in the case of the dopamine
pathway, could affect functions such as attention and concentration
- both being fundamental factors in ADHD.
The way to prevent a fatty acid deficiency is to take a fatty
acid supplement that is rich in EPA and GLA. Although DHA
(another type of omega-3 fatty acid) plays an important structural
role in the brain, if the body has enough EPA then it can
convert it into exactly enough DHA when and where it needs
it. In addition clinical research shows that the higher the
ratio of EPA to DHA in a supplement, the more effective the
supplement becomes. Omega product has the highest ratio possible
- it contains ultra-pure EPA and absolutely no DHA. Omega product
also contains virgin evening primrose oil, which is rich in
GLA, another important fatty acid.