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Kids: Nutrients improve ADHD, metabolics in youth

EPA improved cognition in ADHD

A new study finds the omega-3 EPA may be as, or more, beneficial than drugs for treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in kids with low EPA levels.

In this study, 92 participants, aged six to 18, with a diagnosis of ADHD, took a placebo or 1,200 mg of EPA per day. After 12 weeks, those in the EPA group who began with the lowest blood levels of EPA saw significant improvements in the ability to focus attention and remain vigilant. The benefits were not apparent in those with normal or high baseline EPA levels.

Discussing the findings, doctors said, “Fish oil supplements are at least as effective for attention as conventional pharmacological treatments in children with ADHD and omega-3 deficiency,” going on to encourage parents to check omega-3 levels, as excess amounts could affect impulsive behavior. Doctors have begun to rely on the Omega-3 Index to measure omega-3 levels, with a healthy range from 4 to 8 percent in circulation.

Reference: Translational Psychiatry 9; November, 2019, Article No. 303

Vitamin D improved metabolics in overweight, obese kids

Children who are obese are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D, raising chances for heart and circulatory conditions. In this study, 225 healthy, overweight or obese participants, aged 10 to 18, 211 of which were African-American, took either 600 IU, 1,000 IU, or 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day.

After six months, while there were no changes in the 600 IU group, those taking higher doses saw central systolic, central diastolic, and systemic diastolic blood pressure (BP) decrease by 2.66, 3.57, and 3.28 mmHg, respectively. Systemic systolic BP did not change in any of the groups.

In the 2,000 IU vitamin D group, beginning at three months, insulin sensitivity increased, and at six months, fasting glucose levels declined. Correcting vitamin D deficiency may improve heart and circulatory health.

Reference: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 2020, pii: nqz340, Published Online

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