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Br J Nutr. 2009 Dec;102(11):1635-41. doi: 10.1017/S0007114509990821. Epub 2009 Jul 27.

Dietary PUFA intakes in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms.

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School of Health Sciences, University of Wollongong, Northfields Avenue, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia.


Research has shown associations between attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and erythrocyte long-chain n-3 PUFA (LC n-3 PUFA) levels, with limited evidence for dietary LC n-3 PUFA intake and ADHD. The aims of the present study were to assess dietary PUFA intakes and food sources in children with ADHD, to compare these intakes to previously published Australian National Nutrition Survey (NNS) data and determine any relationships between intakes and ADHD symptoms. Eighty-six 3-d-weighed food records (FR) were analysed from children with ADHD. The median (interquartile range) daily intakes of fatty acids (mg/d) were: linoleic acid (18 : 2n-6), 7797 (6240-12 333); arachidonic acid (20 : 4n-6), 55 (27.0-93); total n-6 PUFA, 7818 (6286-10 662); alpha-linolenic acid (18 : 3n-3), 1039 (779-1461); EPA (20 : 5n-3), 18 (6.0-32.0); docosapentaenoic acid (22 : 5n-3), 17 (6.3-39.3); DHA (22 : 6n-3), 16 (8.5-445); total LC n-3 PUFA (addition of 20 : 5n-3, 22 : 5n-3 and 22 : 6n-3), 65 (28.3-120.1); total n-3 PUFA, 1151 (876-1592). In comparison to the NNS data, 18 : 3n-3 intakes were higher and 20 : 4n-6 were lower (P < 0.05). Children with ADHD consumed half the amount of fish/seafood, meat and eggs when compared to the NNS (P < 0.05). No significant correlations were found between fatty acids and ADHD symptoms. Children with ADHD met the adequate intake for LC n-3 PUFA, but fell short of other recommendations.

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