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Calm Children at Last

Calm Children at Last

Tuesday, April 6th 2004

Study shows "remarkable" improvement in severe behavioural problems and ADHD

New published research in Lipid magazine has shown a "remarkable" reduction in oppositional defiant behaviour in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) type symptoms, after supplementation with a combination of specific fatty acids and vitamin E.

The double blind, placebo-controlled trial, helped 75 per cent of children break out of the "clinical diagnosis" category for oppositional defiant behaviour altogether; reduced frequent urination among 30 per cent; and improved auditory processing significantly. The latest study featured 50 children, age 6-13, with ADHD-type symptoms, thirst and skin problems, and who were already on medication.

Behavioural abnormalities, excessive thirst, frequent urination and dry scaly skin have been shown in animal and human studies to be signs of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCP) deficiency and to be more prevalent in ADHD and dyslexia.

Supplementation in the trial used a product called Efalex, from Efamol Ltd., and is the latest in a series of studies on long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPs) that have recorded reduced ADHD-like symptoms. Efalex provides a balanced mixture of the Long Chain Polyunsaturated fatty acids; DHA, AA, EPA and gamma linolenic acid (GLA).

The trial participants were assessed by scientists, teachers and parents at the start of the study and then after two months and four months on the nutritional supplement Efalex for inattention, hyperactivity, disruptive behaviour and cognitive skills.

There were significant improvements in the Efalex treated group for thirst and dry skin scores, and the disruptive behaviours of hyperactivity, attention and conduct, as well as oppositional defiant behaviour. The improvements in the Efalex group were consistently nominally better than the olive oil group and significantly so for conduct ratings by parents and attention ratings by teachers.

Supplementation with Efalex increased the amounts of the LCPs, EPA and DHA in blood plasma and red blood cell membranes and also the vitamin E content of red blood cell membranes. Significant associations were found between the percentage change in fatty acid content of red blood cells and the percentage change in thirst and some behaviour scores. Higher percentage rises in EPA and DHA were associated with less thirst; rises in DHA were associated with improved attention as assessed by teachers; and a higher percentage change in vitamin E was associated with less hyperactivity, better attention, improved conduct and less oppositional/defiant behaviour as assessed by teachers.

Dr Jackie Stordy, who undertook some of the early research in this area said: "These results are very encouraging because the scientists who did this study set themselves a difficult challenge, that of improving behaviour and skills in children already receiving the standard medication and treatments for their condition.

"It is particularly notable that the teachers' scores were better for attention because they assessed the students when medication would be expected to be at its peak effectiveness. There is also consistency between the improvement in auditory processing (observed by the scientists) and the improvement in attention (assessed by both the parents and the teachers) that followed Efalex use."

Stevens L, Zhang W, Peck L, Kuczek T, Grevstad N, Mahon A, Zentall SS, Arnold LE, Burgess J R, EFA supplementation in children with inattention, hyperactivity, and other disruptive behaviours. Lipids 2003; 38: 1007-1021.

Reproduced unabridged from the April - June 2004 issue of Health and Herbal News, with the kind permission of Health and Herbs International Ltd.

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products are useful for Children's Behaviour and Learning:

Calcium - Magnesium
Coromega - Omega 3 fish oil
Childs Sleep Support Tart Cherry Concentrate
Efalex Efalex Young Minds Brain Formula
Efalex Liquid 500ml
Enzogenol® 120mg
Hi Strength Liquid Fish Oil
Iron Chews
Liquid Calcium
Mega Magnesium Powder
Mineral Power
Vitamin & Mineral Boost Powder

Related health information can be found here:

Eye Health
Mineral Power
Multivite - why taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement is so essential?
Neuromuscular system and nutritional support
Night Blindness
Recommended Calcium Intake for New Zealanders
Smart nutrients for better brain function

Related articles can be found here:

Doctors recommend a multi-vitamin a day
Healthy eye & brain development for babies
How to boost your brain power
Minerals: Critical for well-being
Nature or Bad Parenting?
Omega-3 - Studies find link to depression
Working with Children

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.



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