Omega 3 and ADHD


Omega 3 linked to decline in ADHD

There is a clear connection between the intake of omega 3 fatty acids and decrease in ADHD symptoms in rats. Could this benefit humans as well ? Let´s see a new multidisciplinary study made by researchers at the University of Oslo.

The rats used in this study all had in common indications of hyperactivity, lack of concentration and impulsiveness.  These indications are also the underlying basis for identifying the ADHD diagnosis in humans.


ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) categorized as behavioral criteria. The molecular genetic background for ADHD is mostly unspecified. The new discovery demonstrates that the consumption of omega 3 may have an impact on ADHD symptoms due to its biological component.

Omega 3 from early stage

Pregnant rats were given food with omega 3 and once their baby rats were born they were given omega 3 in their food. They compared these rats with other baby rats that were not given omega 3.  Some days after the baby rats were separated from their mother, researchers started studying their behavior. The results showed the rats who were given omega 3 improved their concentration.


Brain modification 

Examining the brain chemistry researchers came to the conclusion of improvement of serotonin and dopamine. In rats that had been given omega 3 the turnover of serotonin and dopamine improved and took place much faster.


“In some research environments it is controversial to suggest that ADHD has something to do with biology. But we have without a doubt found molecular changes in the brain after rats with ADHD were given omega-3,” says Ivar Walaas, Professor of Biochemistry.



It still not sufficiently clear what causes ADHD. The symptoms that occur in both rats and humans brains are lack of  concentration, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. We know rats and human are different but we have the symptoms in common.


omega 3


Dervola, Kine-Susann Noren; Roberg, Bjørg Åse; Wøien, Grete; Bogen, Inger Lise; Sandvik, Torbjørn; Sagvolden, Terje; Drevon, Christian A, Espen B. Johansen and Sven Ivar Walaas (2012). Marine omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids induce sex-specific changes in reinforcer-controlled behavior and neurotransmitter metabolism in a spontaneously hypertensive rat model of ADHD. Behavioral and Brain Functions.  ISSN 1744-9081.  8(56) . doi: 10.1186/1744-9081-8-56


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