Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Nutrition Journal and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Effects of an open-label pilot study with high-dose EPA/DHA concentrates on plasma phospholipids and behavior in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Paul J Sorgi1, Edward M Hallowell1, Heather L Hutchins2 and Barry Sears2*

Author affiliations

1 Hallowell Center, 142 North Road, Suite F 105, Sudbury, MA 01776, USA

2 Inflammation Research Foundation, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 500, Danvers, MA 01923, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

Nutrition Journal 2007, 6:16  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-6-16

Published: 13 July 2007

Abstract

Background

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common neurological condition in children. This pilot study evaluated the effects of high-dose eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation on the isolated plasma phospholipids and behavior in children with ADHD (primarily inattentive subtype and combined subtype).

Methods

Nine children were initially supplemented with 16.2 g EPA/DHA concentrates per day. The dosage was adjusted dependent on the ratio of arachidonic acid (AA) to EPA in the isolated plasma phospholipids at four weeks to reach a level normally found in the Japanese population.

Results

At the end of the eight-week study, supplementation resulted in significant increases in EPA and DHA, as well as a significant reduction in the AA:EPA ratio (20.78 ± 5.26 to 5.95 ± 7.35, p < 0.01). A psychiatrist (blind to supplement compliance or dosage modifications) reported significant improvements in behavior (inattention, hyperactivity, oppositional/defiant behavior, and conduct disorder). There was also a significant correlation between the reduction in the AA:EPA ratio and global severity of illness scores.

Conclusion

The findings of this small pilot study suggest supplementation with high-dose EPA/DHA concentrates may improve behavior in children with ADHD.