Omega Fatty Acid Blend Shows Promise in Tackling ADHD

Omega 3-Omega 6 and ADHDA new review article outlines the beneficial role a combination of Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids may play, in addition to other therapies, for individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).

16 Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were reviewed for general assessment.  13 of the studies showed a benefit in participants supplementing with Omega 3 and Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acids.  The levels of benefit appeared to be dependent on the dose as well as the ratio of the fatty acids, the quality of the RCT itself and ADHD subtype being studied.  One study which looked at children in the 6-12 year old age category, participants were able to reduce their dosages of the pharmaceutical drug methylphenidate (MPH) used to reduce and manage their symptoms of ADHD when receiving an Omega 3/6 Fatty Acid in a 9:3:1 ratio after one year (EPA:558 mg, DHA:174 MG, and GLA:60mg).

Further research is planned, but researchers believe given the fact the Omega 3/6 supplements have almost non-existent side effects in comparison to the drugs chosen to treat ADHD, it makes sense to increase the intake of these essential fatty acids before beginning a pharmaceutical treatment.

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Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements Linked to Lower CHD Death Risk

Omega-3 and Coronary Heart DiseaseAccording to a new study that emphasizes the protective effects of supplementing the diet with Omega-3 fish oils, a 26% lower risk of dying from Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) was associated with Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid supplementation.

Over 22,000 individuals between the ages of 39 and 79 participated in this study that stretched over a 22 year period.  3 separate questionnaires were initially used to assess the use of Omega-3 over this time period.  Next participants with grouped into 3 groups Omega-3 supplement users (SU+n3), non Omega-3 supplement users (SU-n3) and non supplement users (NSU).  Variables like age, smoking, prevalent illnesses, education, dietary intake, social class and body mass index were taking into account for the purpose of statistical analysis.

At the beginning of the study it was found that supplement use was not associated with CHD mortality.  After adjusting for fish consumption, baseline food and supplement intake of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids was inversely associated with CHD mortality.  The SU+n3 group or individuals who became SU+n3 during the study had a lower risk of CHD mortality when compared to the NSU group.

Further study is needed.

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Omega-3 May Help Fight Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty Liver DiseaseAccording to a new pilot study a high dose Omega-3 supplement may improve Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) markers.

This pre-specified sub study of the WELCOME Trial (Wessex Evaluation of Fatty Liver and Cardiovascular markers in NAFLD with Omacor Therapy), a double blinded randomized controlled trial, looked at 16 individuals with NAFLD.  These participants were randomized to receive either 4 grams per day of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids or a placebo.  Red blood cell counts (RBC) of DHA were taken at the beginning of the study and at the end of the study.  Additionally various parameters of NAFLD, hepatic and whole-body insulin sensitivity, existing liver fat, triglyceride levels, Fatty Acid (FA) oxidation and DNL(de novo lipogenesis), were also assessed.  Significant improvements in hepatic insulin sensitivity (not whole body insulin sensitivity) and liver metabolism were seen in participants whose red blood cell (RBC) DHA levels increased by over 2%.  A 26% reduction in existing liver fat content was also seen although this was not considered statistically significant.

No guidelines were given to the participants to avoid consuming oily fish during the trial period which most likely accounted for one of the placebo group participants showing increased RBC DHA levels over 2%.  Another drawback of the study design was that the primary outcome studied by researchers was the effect of raising RBC DHA on NAFLD markers.  No attempt to determine if EPA levels had any effect on these markers was made.  Future testing might attempt to determine the effect a DHA only oil would have on NAFLD markers.

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Omega-3 Supplements May Slash Cardiac Death Risk

Omega-3 Reduces Cardiac Death RiskAccording to a new meta-analysis supplementing with Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids may reduce the risk of coronary mortality by an average of 8%.  The reduction in the risk of death in people with elevated LDL cholesterol or triglycerides was higher at 17%.

Data from 14 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) which encompassed over 71,000 participants was reviewed.  Each of the trials lasted over 6 months and looked at cardiac deaths as the primary outcome.  Researchers compared frequencies of coronary mortality between groups supplementing with Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids and the control groups.  In addition to seeing the statistically significant 8% reduction in cardiac death risk for participants supplementing with Omega-3’s, participants who were supplementing with more than 1 gram of total Omega-3’s (EPA and DHA) saw a reduction of cardiac death of almost 30%.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cardiac deaths account for almost 66% of all cardiovascular disease deaths in the United States and 42% of all cardiovascular disease deaths in the world yearly.  The results of this meta-analysis match up with the conclusions in a recent Science Advisory put out by the American Heart Association which points to EPA and DHA Omega-3 supplementation as being a “reasonable” secondary preventive measure of coronary heart disease and sudden cardiac death.

More studies are planned.

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Short-Term Fish Oil Consumption Helps Prevent Type-2 Diabetes in People with Existing Metabolic Disorders

Omega-3 and DiabetesAccording to a new meta-analysis supplementation with Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids could increase insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of diabetes in people who suffer from metabolic disorders.

17 studies with over 670 participants over the age of 18 were reviewed by researchers.  In individuals experiencing at least one symptom of a metabolic disorder Omega-3 supplementation heightened their insulin sensitivity, however the same benefits were not seen the participants who were healthy or already had Type-2 Diabetes.  A 47% decrease in insulin resistance was seen in the group supplementing with Omega-3 and had metabolic disorders but did not have Type-2 Diabetes.

Researchers found that serum Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid levels took approximately 4 weeks to reach equilibrium.  They stressed that duration of supplementation and not dosage was crucial for the Omega-3 to be most effective.

More research is needed.

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Low Omega-3 Levels Linked to Prenatal Depression

Omega-3 and Prenatal DepressionA new study shows an Omega-3 deficiency as well as increased inflammation may be associated with prenatal depression (PND).  Also an Omega-3 deficiency may result in longer episodes of depression.

33 women (17 women with PND and 16 healthy women) in their second and third trimesters of pregnancy participated in this study.  Their inflammatory markers, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a) as well as their Omega-3 levels were measured.  The women who experienced PND had significantly higher TNF-a levels and significantly lower Omega-3 levels.

These finds confirm other observational studies that show higher levels of total Omega-3 (DHA  and EPA) seem to act as “protective factors” against major depressive disorder (MDD).  Also larger DHA levels found in breast milk and increasing the consumption of DHA rich foods, like seafood, have been shown as links to decreased risks of postpartum depression.  Omega-3 deficiencies seen during pregnancy may also increase the length of the depressive episodes which could last even into the first year after delivery.  This could lead to psychosocial dysfunction, suicide, poor mother-child relationships, and destructive behaviors like alcohol and drug abuse according to this study.

Future larger sample size studies are needed to replicate the findings in this study.

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Meta-Analysis Supports Potential of Omega-3s for ADHD

Omega-3 and ADHDAccording to a new meta-analysis of “gold standard” clinical studies, Omega-3 essential fatty acid supplements could improve symptoms and cognitive performance in adolescents and children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Data taken from seven randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and involving over 500 youth was analyzed using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines.  The data used was taken from established scientific literature databases to insure only appropriate studies were included in this meta-analysis.

Researchers found that supplementation with Omega-3 essential fatty acids significantly improved hyperactivity and inattention symptoms. Improvements in hyperactivity were only seen when doses of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) were over 500 mg/day.  Additionally data from case-control studies were also taken to determine if Omega-3 levels were associated with ADHD.  Results showed that adolescents and children with ADHD had lower levels of EPA, DHA and total Omega-3.  Improvements in certain measures of cognitive performance were also associated with Omega-3 supplementation.

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