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ADHD, Learning Difficulties and the Benefits of DHA

Some incredibly encouraging research coming out of Australia regarding the benefits of DHA for kids with ADHD and other learning difficulties seems to corroborate other study findings that were available last month.

Often ADHD exists with kids who often have other learning difficulties. The conditions can be co-morbid (often found together) in a child. And a new nutritional study suggests that a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids that contain DHA can help make improvements for these children.

90 Australian children ranging in age from 7 to 12 participated in the study. All the kids involved had ADHD symptoms that rated higher than the 90th percentile on the scale used to determine the condition called the Conners Rating Scale. The children were given the supplements for a four month period.

At the end of that period it was found that there was a link between the increased levels of DHA and improved reading and behavior. Most telling, though, was that the children who had ADHD and learning difficulties showed a significant improvement in reading, spelling, the ability to divide attention, hyperactivity and restlessness.

They concluded that in fact that increasing levels of DHA may improve both schoolwork and behavior in ADHD kids and that children who present with both ADHD and learning difficulties may enjoy the biggest advantages.

This study from Australia comes on the heels of a study from Great Britain that also associated that daily supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids is linked to improve reading and behavior in kids with learning difficulties.

That study, out of the University of Oxford involved kids between the ages and seven and nine who were underperforming on standardized tests. These kids were also given omega-3 with DHA supplements. The study determined that the kids taking these supplements improved their reading. In fact, there were 224 kids reading at or below the 20th percentile level. Over the 16 week trial period, the improvement in their reading was 20% greater than would normally be expected. And for the 105 kids in that initial group whose reading was below the 10th percentile, their improvement was 50% better than previously expected.

Both of these studies present parents with a simple and natural option when looking for help for their kids with ADHD and learning difficulties. Fish oil supplements are widely available throughout our country. They present no danger for our children and the benefits could truly make this a worthwhile undertaking for families looking for ways to help their children improve their behavior and their academic performance.