Gow RV, Sumich A, Vallee-Tourangeau F, et al. Omega-3 fatty acids are related to abnormal emotion processing in adolescent boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2013 Jun;88(6):419-29.
In addition to the core symptoms, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with poor emotion regulation. There is some evidence that children and young adults with ADHD have lower omega-3 levels and that supplementation with omega-3 can improve both ADHD and affective symptoms. We therefore investigated differences between ADHD and non-ADHD children in omega-3/6 fatty acid plasma levels and the relationship between those indices and emotion-elicited event-related potentials (ERPs).
Children/adolescents with (n=31) and without ADHD (n=32) were compared in their plasma omega-3/6 indices and corresponding ERPs during an emotion processing task.
Children with ADHD had lower mean omega-3/6 and ERP abnormalities in emotion processing, independent of emotional valence relative to control children. ERP abnormalities were significantly associated with lower omega-3 levels in the ADHD group.
The findings reveal for the first time that lower omega-3 fatty acids are associated with impaired emotion processing in ADHD children.