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Role of polyunsaturated fatty acids in ADHD?

Role of omega-3 and 0mega-6 polyunsatured fatty acids in attention-deficit disorder?

A new journal article, published in the European Journal of Pediatrics discusses the role of omeg-3 and omega-6 polyunsatured fatty acids (PUFAs) in  ADHD.  Both types of PUFAs play a role in the normal development and functioning of the central nervous system.

The study authors cite observational studies which suggest that there’s a link between  imbalances of omega-3 and omega-6 PUFAs in childhood developmental disorders.  Specifically, they cite a connection between attention-deficity hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, and autism spectrum disorders with a relative lack of omega-3 fatty acids.

However, they did note that there have been conflicting results with supplementation with long-chain PUFAs in children with ADHD.


Schuchardt JP, Huss M, Stauss-Grabo M, Hahn A.  Significance of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) for the development and behaviour of children.  Eur J Pediatr. 2010 Feb;169(2):149-64. Epub 2009 Aug 12.

Prenatal lead and tobacco leads to attention deficit disorder?

Lead and tobacco exposure in children leads to increased risk of attention-deficit disorder?

Researchers at the Cincinnati College of Medicine published a recent study in the journal, Pediatrics, which suggests that both prenatal exposure to lead and tobacco smoke lead to an increased risk of attention-deficit disorder in children.  In fact, exposure to both dramatically increased the risk of ADHD.

Results of their study:

  • Prenatal tobacco exposure (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 2.4 [95% CI: 1.5-3.7]) and higher current blood lead concentrations (aOR for third versus first tertile: 2.3 [95% CI: 1.5-3.8]) were independently associated with ADHD.
  • Compared with children with neither exposure, children with both exposures (prenatal tobacco exposure and third-tertile lead levels) had an even greater risk of ADHD (aOR: 8.1 [95% CI: 3.5-18.7]) than would be expected if the independent risks were multiplied (tobacco-lead exposure interaction term, P < .001).

The study authors concluded that reduction in exposure to both lead and tobacco smoke may be an important avenue to prevent ADHD.


Froehlich TE, Lanphear BP, Auinger P, Hornung R, Epstein JN, Braun J, Kahn RS.  Association of tobacco and lead exposures with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.  Pediatrics. 2009 Dec;124(6):e1054-63. Epub 2009 Nov 23.

Zinc sulfate for attention-deficit disorder?


Zinc sulfate helps attention-deficit disorder?

Attention-deficit disorder itself is a common disorder which affects 4-12% of elementary school children.  Symptoms of ADHD include features of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.  For children with ADHD, the disorder can interfere with social relationships and have a profoundly negative impact on their school performance.

Croatian researchers published a recent study discussing the role of zinc in the pathophysiology of attention deficit disorder.  As they noted, the neurotransmitter, dopamine, is one of the most important factors in this disorder.  Further, they noted that the hormone, melatonin, also plays a role in the regulation of dopamine.

To continue further, these researchers also discussed the role of the mineral, zinc, in the metabolism of melatonin.  Zinc sulfate has favorable effects in children with ADHD which suggests that zinc deficiency may play a role in the pathophysiology of ADHD.  In fact, preliminary investigations suggest that children with ADHD may have lower zinc concentrations than those that do not.

In a recent study, a dose of 55 mg/day of zinc sulfate improve symptoms of ADHD in children.  The study authors suggested that further studies are necessary to elucidate a more precise dosing regime for zinc sulfate in children with ADHD.


Dodig-Curković K, Dovhanj J, Curković M, Dodig-Radić J, Degmecić D.  [The role of zinc in the treatment of hyperactivity disorder in children]  Acta Med Croatica. 2009 Oct;63(4):307-13.