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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 book.

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 same individuals.
"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.

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