Fish oil as a natural remedy (food as medicine) for hyperactive, impulsive and disruptive children and teenagers? Scientists based on the premise fish oil from oily fish like salmon and sardines with high content of fatty acids, is brain food and , are testing to see if giving fish oil supplement to children and teenagers with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and other disruptive behaviour (defying parents and teachers, and engaging in fighting, stealing or other anti-social activities) can improve their conduct. The fatty acids are believed to help the brain work properly.
These suspicions seem bolstered by the findings of Prof. Ong Wei Yi, professor of anatomy from the NUS (National University of Singapore) who found from tests on rats given anti-depressant medications release fatty acids from nerve terminals in the brain.
The research team from Singapore and Philadelphia is led by principal investigator Daniel Fung, the Head of the Child and adolescent psychiatry department of the Singapore Institute of Mental Health (IMH) and assisted by Prof. Rebecca Ang of Nanyang Technological University while Adrian Raine, a criminologist from the University of Pennsylvania is conducting the trial in Philadelphia.
The study plan to test 600 patients, aged nine to 16, who have sought treatment from the Child Guidance Clinic which will be divided into 2 groups with half randomly assigned to take four Omega 3 fatty acids fish oil capsules a day for 6 months while the other half will be given dummy sunflower oil capsules (placebo) with only a tinge of fish oil to give it an oily taste.
While the results are not known yet, earlier tests in Britain and Nederlands have shown that aggressive young prisoners and children with coordination disorders behave better after taking fish oil supplement.
Those who took fish oil became more attentive, less hyperactive and less impulsive, among other behavioural and learning improvements.
Source: The Straits Times