Proper nutrition, supplements and a diet which includes fish and oils would be a safe and gentle alternative to drugs for children who have attention deficit disorder, says a leading researcher.
The standard medical treatment for children with the disorder is the controversial drug Ritalin but many parents now feel the drug is turning their children into zombies.
Dr Basant Puri, a consultant and senior lecturer at Hammersmith Hospital has been using sophisticated imaging techniques to study the role of fatty acids in brain function. He says he has unearthed a wealth of evidence about how supplementation with specific fatty acids can not only help those with ADD/ADHD (attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder), but also dyslexia and dyspraxia.
"In clinical trials we have seen significant improvements in ADHD symptoms in children administered with fatty acid supplements," he said.
Typically those who get a benefit enjoy improved attention and concentration, a reduction in anxiety and impulsivity and generally an improvement in self esteem.
Dr Puri said the findings showed that it may be prudent to try a safe nutritional solution in the first instance before using psycho stimulants such an Ritalin. Fatty acids could also be taken by those already on Ritalin, he added.
Fatty acids are important for the brain growth of all children and particularly so for those with learning conditions, he said.
He recommends that the best results have come from supplementation with a combination of marine and botanical oils rich in a specific fatty acid called Eicosapentaenoic Acid or EPA.