Recent work has demonstrated that individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at elevated risk for deficits in emotional self-regulation (DESR) (Surman et al. 2010). DESR traits include low frustration tolerance, impatience, quickness to anger, moodiness, and being easily (over)excited to emotional reactions (Barkley 2010). Research also suggests that changes in DESR may not routinely follow changes in ADHD symptoms during treatment trials (Shaw et al. 2014). Despite the link between ADHD and DESR, little has been completed in terms targeted treatment trials of individuals with ADHD who manifest DESR. Although limited, the literature suggests that omega-3 fatty acids (FAs) supplementation may have a modest impact in the management of severe mood dysregulation (Osher et al. 2005; Wozniak et al. 2007). To this end, we examined the effectiveness and tolerability of adjunct omega-3 FAs for the treatment of DESR and ADHD symptoms in children with ADHD who were treated with stimulant or nonstimulant medications and who continued to manifest clinically significant DESR.

Our findings derived from omega-3 FA supplementation to ADHD medication in children with ADHD and DESR showed relatively rapid improvements in mood (DESR), but few improvements in ADHD symptoms. The omega-3 FAs were well tolerated. These pilot data with a nutraceutical provide encouraging support for a larger controlled trial of omega-3 FAs as adjunct therapy for residual DESR in treated ADHD youth.

This study was conducted using Nordic Naturals ProOmega® Jr (35/25)