EPA is a polyunsaturated fatty acid (or ‘good fat’) with numerous health benefits. The impact of low levels of EPA on mood, behaviour and learning appears to be key to many of the symptoms of ADHD.
The recent study using Vegepa E-EPA 70 is the first of its kind using pure ethyl-EPA in children resistant to standard medication (Ritalin) and behaviour therapy. It is also the first pilot trial to demonstrate the efficacy of EPA & GLA, without the inclusion of another type of omega-3 known as DHA. These findings are in keeping with other studies that have shown a significant association between the efficacy of a supplement and its dose/concentration of EPA.
How does EPA work?
EPA affects and improves dopamine synthesis (involved in modulating cognition, learning, balance and movement) and serotonin (involved in modulating mood, emotion, sleep and appetite) neurotransmission. The efficacy of EPA in treating the symptoms of ADHD is believed to be through direct modulation of these pathways.
Some studies have found that children with ADHD have lower levels of long-chain fatty acids than other children, possibly due to insufficient intake from food or an enzyme deficiency that means they aren’t able to adequately convert short-chain fatty acids from their diet to the important long-chain fats such as EPA. As a result, the body is unable to replenish these fats fast enough to keep up with demand.
Direct supplementation is therefore a sensible way to overcome both possibilities: either an inability to produce them physiologically or an increase in their turnover necessitates higher intake of these essential nutrients. As low omega-3 levels are associated with low levels of dopamine, supplementing any imbalances or deficiencies may improve behavioural and learning difficulties associated with the condition.
Studies are supporting this approach, with results suggesting that by supplementing the diet of a child with ADHD with purified EPA fish oil, improvements are seen in relation to inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, when compared to a placebo.
About Vegepa E-EPA 70
Vegepa E-EPA 70 combines the benefits of 70% ethyl-EPA concentrate extracted from marine anchovy oil with GLA and triterpene antioxidants from organic evening primrose oil. This unique formulation is designed to balance and maintain healthy omega-3 and omega-6 levels required to support healthy brain function and aid concentration and learning. Vegepa E-EPA 70 is a very effective add-on treatment available for use in collaboration with other ongoing therapies.
Specialising in the natural treatment of the neurodevelopmental disorders dyspraxia, dyslexia and ADHD, Dr Robin Pauc, Director of the Tinsley House Clinic and author of Is That My Child?, routinely prescribes Vegepa E-EPA 70 as a complementary add-on to his own treatments.
He comments: “Since switching [from another omega-3 brand] to pure EPA in Vegepa E-EPA 70, the feedback from the parents has been not only very positive but consistent. Although the feedback has been about children diagnosed with a variety of behavioural and learning disabilities, it seems to work particularly well with children who are inattentive and/or hyperactive. Comments often include such things as ‘calmer’, ‘more focused’ and ‘a joy to have around’.”
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Perera H, Jeewandara KC, Seneviratne S & Guruge C. (2012) Combined Omega-3 and Omega-6 supplementation in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder refractory to methylphenidate treatment: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Journal of Child Neurology 27:747-753.
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