HealthDay News — Dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may help improve symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children with ADHD and typically developing children, according to a study published in Neuropsychopharmacology.

Dienke J. Bos, from the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, and colleagues examined the effects of dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on ADHD symptoms and cognitive control in 40 boys with ADHD (aged 8 to 14 years) and 39 matched controls. Participants consumed 10 g margarine daily, enriched with omega-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] and docosahexaenoic acid [DHA]) or placebo.

The researchers found that parent-rated attention improved with EPA/DHA supplementation among children with ADHD and typically developing children. For children receiving EPA/DHA supplements versus placebo, phospholipid DHA-level at follow-up was higher. EPA/DHA supplementation had no impact on cognitive control or on functional magnetic resonance imaging measures of brain activity.

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“This study shows that dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids reduces symptoms of ADHD, both for individuals with ADHD and typically developing children,” the authors write.

The study was funded by Unilever Research & Development.


  1. Bos DJ et al. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015; doi:10.1038/npp.2015.73.