Strong evidence linking omega-3 fatty acid abnormalities to ADHD comes from a new study by Brian Ross et al., who analyzed exhaled ethane levels—a non-invasive measure of oxidative damage to omega-3 fatty acids—in 10 ADHD subjects and 12 controls.
Subjects with ADHD had significantly higher ethane levels than controls, the researchers say, with half of ADHD cases being above the normal upper limits.
The researchers speculate that children with the highest exhaled- ethane levels may respond best to treatment with omega-3 fatty acids. They also recommend that supplementation include an antioxidant such as vitamin E, ubiquinone, or alpha lipoic acid.
"Dietary supplementation with long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially of the omega-3 class, has also been found to have positive effects in depression and borderline personality disorder," they note, "while lipid and/or antioxidant vitamin and mineral therapy has reduced delinquent and aggressive behavior, suggesting an important link between diet, including lipid intake, and certain types of psychopathology."
"Increased levels of ethane, a non-invasive marker of omega-3 fatty acid oxidation, in breath of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder," Brian M. Ross, Ivor McKenzie, Iain Glen, and C. Peter W. Bennett, Nutritional Neuroscience, Vol. 6, No. 5, October 2003, 277-81. Address: firstname.lastname@example.org.