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Minerva Pediatrica 2019 August;71(4):313-25

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4946.18.04975-7

Copyright © 2018 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Early monitoring of fatty acid profile in children with attention deficit and/or hyperactivity disorder under treatment with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids

Ana CHECA-ROS 1, 2 , Ana HARO-GARCÍA 3, Isabel SEIQUER 3, Antonio MOLINA-CARBALLO 1, José UBEROS-FERNÁNDEZ 1, Antonio MUÑOZ-HOYOS 1

1 Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, San Cecilio University Hospital, University of Granada, Granada, Spain; 2 Aston Brain Centre, Aston University, Birmingham, UK; 3 Department of Physiology and Biochemistry of Animal Nutrition (EEZ-CSIC), Estación Experimental del Zaidín (CSIC), Granada, Spain



BACKGROUND: Cognitive effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFAs) might make them helpful in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, the results derived from supplementation studies in children depend on the respective combinations and the study period. We aimed to investigate the serum fatty acid profile, attention scores and the tolerability in a group of ADHD children after receiving methylphenidate (MPH) and ω-3 PUFAs for 1 month.
METHODS: A combination of MPH (1 mg/kg/day) and eicosapentaenoic (EPA, 70 mg/day) + docosahexaenoic acids (DHA, 250 mg/day) was administered to 40 ADHD children (7-15 years). An analysis of serum fatty acids by gas chromatography and an assessment of attention by using the Magallanes Scale of Visual Attention (MSVA) were carried out before and after 1 month of treatment.
RESULTS: Our data revealed significant decreases of several ω-6 PUFAs, like arachidonic acid (P<0.0259). EPA and DHA concentrations increased by 27% and 3% respectively, and the ω-6/ω-3 index slightly decreased. The quality of attention significantly increased (P<0.026) and an improvement of ADHD core symptoms was reported both by parents and by teachers. No severe side effects occurred.
CONCLUSIONS: Results demonstrate that the combination of MPH and EPA+DHA at the tested doses has positive clinical effects and an adequate safety profile. Therefore, our study suggests that ω-3 PUFAs may represent a feasible and a safe adjuvant therapy in children with ADHD and might enhance the effects of MPH. Further long-term follow-up studies are required to confirm these initial findings.


KEY WORDS: Attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity; Fatty acids, omega-3; Methylphenidate; Child

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