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You might have heard that DHA and EPA are highly effective ADD supplements. What do these acronyms mean? While most people know that ADD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder, few realize the important role DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) play in reducing the symptoms of ADD.

DHA and EPA are omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fatty fish and in fish oil supplements. These omega-3 fatty acids are essential for proper brain functioning. Fatty acids are used to make brain and nerve tissue in the body and are crucial for proper growth, mental function, the immune system and brain development. Without this important building block, the brain suffers. When comparing ADD supplements, always look for one with high amounts of fatty acids.

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Today’s typical diet is notoriously low in the beneficial omega-3 fats, which explains in part why ADHD is so prevalent. A 1994 study at Purdue University found that children diagnosed with ADHD had lower levels of DHA compared to children without ADHD. When looking for a natural cure for ADD and ADHD diet modifications, adding more beneficial fatty acids to the diet is an excellent first step.

A 2005 study published in "Pediatrics" show the clear benefits of adding fatty acids to the diet. In this study of 117 children, those who took fish oil supplements showed “highly significant” improvements in behavior and reading and spelling abilities while the children who did not supplement showed no significant improvements. And when children in the placebo group started taking fish oil supplements, they then showed improvements in behavior and reading and spelling abilities. Clearly, an excellent diet for ADHD kids is one that includes fatty acids.

The body does not make any essential fatty acids so all essential fatty acids must come from diet or through supplementation. When considering the best brain food, fatty acids rank at the top. The problem is that not many kids willingly chew on mackerel, line up for a serving of sardines or enjoy eating salmon. Additionally, mercury contamination is a solid concern when consuming fish.

This is why using ADD supplements are preferred as one the more used ADD alternatives and ADD alternative medicine protocols. Fish oils are the best source of DHA and EPA and there are many brands available. When comparing fish oils, make sure the brand you select is purified and free of mercury, PCBs and other contaminants. Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil and Carlson's fish oil or cod liver oil are both excellent brand choices.

Most of your better brands are almost tasteless. If you select a brand that has a strong “fishy” taste, it is probably rancid and should be thrown out. Stick with high quality oils and you will not have this problem.


DHA and EPA Dosages for ADHD

The FDA has not established recommended intakes of DHA and EPA and optimal amounts of essential fatty intake vary from person to person. Nutritionists generally agree that people should consume at least 500 mg daily of DHA and EPA and ADHD symptoms that are more extreme often required higher doses.

Consuming high DHA and EPA dosages for ADHD will not harm you so it’s always better err on the side of taking more than less. In general, a teaspoon of high quality fish oil daily is a good starting point.

Some children will take fish oil straight off the spoon. Most won’t. Make it easy on yourself and mix the fish oil in oatmeal, yogurt, pudding, shakes or smoothies.

Using ADD supplements, as well ADHD herbal medicine or other forms of ADHD holistic treatments, will take time. Though you should see improvements within the first four to six weeks, it can take up to six months to see significant improvements in behavior.

Start right away using DHA and EPA and ADHD symptoms will begin to improve before you know it. 

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