Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a chronic neurodevelopmental disorder with core symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Marked impairments are also well-documented in self-regulatory and executive function skills associated with temporal organization, working memory, goal-directed behaviors and maintaining motivation, focus and effort.

Another recognized feature of ADHD is the concept of emotional dysregulation which is the inability to regulate emotional processes and can often manifest as instability in
temperament, and explosive temper. Although there is a high degree of heritability for symptoms of ADHD, somewhere in the region of 65–75%, most of the genetic effect is considered accountable by gene/environmental interactions.

One plausible environmental postulation is the hypothesis of inadequate neuronal levels of omega-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs) leading to abnormalities in dopamine-related neurotransmission in the frontal cortex and reward-related pathways in the ventral striatum regions. Neuroimaging studies have confirmed that these brain networks are impaired in ADHD compared to control counterparts during a range of tasks measuring motivation and reward management processes. Omega-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids have critical roles throughout the central nervous system featuring in complex
structural and functional processes related, but not restricted to myelination, cell-signaling, gene expression and in the regulation of mood and affect.

This article will present and discuss evidence from several clinical studies and raise questions regarding future research directions.

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