SpectraCell Blog

The Role of Omega-3s in ADHD & Autism

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Apr 28, 2017 @ 02:24 PM

ADHD-Autism.jpgResearchers first linked ADHD to essential fatty acid deficiency in the early 1980s, and recent years have seen an unprecedented rise in autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  Since our nerves and brain are composed primarily of fats, poor omega-3 fatty acid status can alter neurotransmitter function and inhibit brain performance on many levels.  This deficiency has a greater impact on males because their requirements for essential fatty acids are, in general, much higher (and one reason why autism occurs more frequently in boys).

Brain and nerve growth throughout childhood is extraordinarily rapid, and the need for omega-3 fatty acids remains critical all the way through adolescence and into adulthood. The brain can actually create nerve pathways in response to new experiences and learning environments. Called “neuronal plasticity,” this phenomenon is crucial for long-term memory and learning.  Adequate levels of the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), are needed for this to occur.

The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (both types differ in structure and function) also affects neuronal plasticity. Scientists now agree that this ratio is just as important as the actual levels of each, especially in autism and ADHD. A lower ratio is better and when this ratio is improved, symptoms of autism and ADHD often improve.

Stimulant drugs such as Ritalin are commonly prescribed for ADHD, but studies show that supplements can be equally effective in treating symptoms of ADHD. An Oxford University study demonstrated that fatty acid supplementation for three months to children struggling with ADHD resulted in improvements in reading, spelling and behavior; these results were not observed in the placebo group. Following administration of the same supplements to the placebo group in the study as a second part of this trial, the same improvements were eventually observed.

Discover whether your child has an essential fatty acid deficiency and learn how our solutions can aid in treating symptoms of ADHD and Autism. 

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Topics: autism, DHA, ADHD, autism speaks, Omega-3s in ADHD and Autism, Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency

Why Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Affect So Many Functions In Our Body?

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, May 06, 2011 @ 03:16 PM

Omega 3 Fatty AcidsThe answer is simple: cell membrane flexibility.  Every cell has a cell membrane.  When this cell membrane is rigid, it does not work well.  When it is flexible, the chemicals that run our bodies - hormones, proteins, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fats, etc - can move in and out of cells efficiently as needed, thus making the cells healthier, since the materials they need to function well are available.  When the cells work well, the tissues that are made of cells work well.  When tissues work well, the whole system works well and ultimately leads to overall improved health of the entire person.

For example, when there are enough omega-3 fatty acids available through either diet or supplementation, they will be absorbed into cells in the heart, making their cell membranes flexible, but strong.  Consequently, the heart and arteries are stronger and therefore the entire cardiovascular system benefits.  In fact, in the same way that omega-3 fats make cell membranes more flexible, the dangerous trans fats do the exact opposite - they are absorbed into the cell membranes making them stiff and unable to do their job.  Just as stiff joints or stiff arteries are unhealthy, so are inflexible cell membranes.  And since cell membranes are an integral part of every tissue in the body, the level of omega-3 fatty acids a person has can affect just about everything (see below).

Omega 3 Benefits Here

SpectraCell's HS-Omega-3 Index® measures the amount of two very important omega-3 fatty acids - EPA and DHA - in a person's red blood cells.

Topics: SpectraCell, HS-Omega-3 Index, Omega 3 Fatty Acid, Cardiovascular Health, Heart Disease, health, DHA, Omega 3s, EPA, Women's Health

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Depression

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Oct 20, 2010 @ 03:44 PM

What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega 3 fatty acids are nutrients absolutely necessary for human health. Since our bodies cannot synthesize omega 3 fatty acids, it is essential that we obtain them from our diets, hence they are commonly called essential fatty acids. The most common source of omega 3 fats is coldwater fatty fish such as salmon, but other sources include seafood, nuts, eggs and fish oil supplements.

There are two major omega 3 fatty acids – DHA and EPA – that have gained considerable attention in recent years because they seem to benefit almost every organ system in our bodies.

Mood DisordersDepression and Mental Clarity:

The majority (about 60%) of our brain and nerves are composed of fats, and it is well documented that poor fatty acid status contributes to both the incidence and severity of depression1151.

EPA and DHA are the most predominant omega-3 fatty acids in our brains and consequently, the most biologically relevant when it comes to mental health251. High DHA concentrations, for example, enhance serotonin, a feel-good hormone that gives a sense of well being. Impaired mental focus, disturbed sleep patterns and other common depressive symptoms often respond well to fatty acid supplementation.

The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (n6:n3) is equally important. Studies show that the more severe the depression, the higher the n6:n3 ratio typically is, but also the more effective fatty acid (or fish oil) supplementation can be.

Topics: SpectraCell, HS-Omega-3 Index, DHA, Depression, EPA