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March 28, 2007


  Very exciting news!!!!  A new study from Mass General Hospital and Harvard Medical School has found that omega-3 fatty acid supplements to the diet in the form of fish oil are an effective first-line intervention for ADHD and bi-polar disorder.  As I learn more about the study I will post it on the blog, but I know the lead investigator, Dr. Janet Wozniak, is first-rate.  This is a very compelling finding.  We did a small study at my center in Sudbury two years ago that produced the same finding.  Children who took fish oil supplementation improved their scores on a variety of cognitive tests as well as redueced the reported negative symptoms of ADHD over a two month period.  More to come....


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This is exciting news! Dr. Edward Hallowell (Ned) who is the author of 2 of my favorite books on ADD / ADHD and the ADD -like lifestyle (See Crazy Busy, and Delivered from Distraction:Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder ) has a... [Read More]


Josh Walczak

Are the omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed oil similar enough to (presumably) yield similar results?

Ned Hallowell

We don't know for sure. The research has been done using fish oil, so unless you are allergic, I would go that route for sure. Just be sure you use top quality fish oil, like omegabrite or Barry Sears's brand, so that you don't get mercury contamination. Suggested dose 2000 mg/day.

Adam Frugoli

I am 28 years old and am a loan officer at a busy bank. I am on 10 mg ritalan (I think thats how you spell it) 3x a day.

The problem is I am having a hard time getting everything done. I have used everything from Palm, Franklin Planner to my new fancy blackberry. Any time managment idea that work for you?


Idaho Falls, Idaho

L Leung

My son is 12. Is 2000 mg/day of fish oil appropriate for that age group as well?

T. Hicks

My son is 12 and has trouble with caplets, so I am looking at liquid form of fish oil to help him with his ADD symptoms. I do not know the correct EPA/DHA that you feel would work best for his age to help him. Do you recommend Omegabrite Kidz (475 EPA/112 DHA), Coromega (350 EPA/230 DHA) or Coromega Child Brain and Body (36 EPA/200 DHA)? Coromega says it uses pharmeceutical grade fish oil. These listed are all orange flavored to make them more 'kid friendly' as they are liquid, vice caplet. I checked Dr. Sears's site, but didn't see any that were specific to children. Any help would be very sincerely appreciated!

T. Hicks

In my last submission I included the EPA/DHA information, but neglected to include the overall mg of Omega-3 Fatty Acids/fish oil. For Omegabrite Kids it is 700 mg, for Coromega it is 2000 mg and for Coromega Child Brain and Body it is 850 mg. Thank you again for your help and your wonderful books!

Cynthia Hammer

Greetings Ned

I have been taking Fish Oil from Costco for several months and just learned their enteric coated fish oil--so you don't end up smelling fish--sells for $11.55 for 200 tablets. Two tablets, a daily dose, would contain 1700 mg of fish oil with 880 mg of EPA/DHA which is slightly higher than 50%.

Kenny Handelman

I am responding to Josh W's comment above.
I have read Dr. Stoll's book on Omega 3 Fatty Acids - 'The Omega 3 Connection'. Dr. Stoll is a Harvard Researcher, looking into Omega 3s in Bipolar in adults.
My recollection from his book was that the Omega 3s in flaxseed oil, were slightly shorter fatty acids, and they did not enter the brain as readily as the fish based (longer chain) fatty acids.
My take away from that was that when wanting Omega 3s for any kind of brain benefit (i.e. Bipolar or ADHD), it is best to take fish based Omega 3s.
The flaxseed oils likely still give the cardiovascular benefits, but not the 'mental health' benefits.
I hope this helps.

MJ Ashley

I read Dr. Amen's book on the 6 types of add and the benefits of taking l-tyrosine supplements. Is l-tyrosine really helpful in treating inattentive add and depression. Are there any adverse effects? thanks


Hey i don't want to burst anyones bubbles but I was on a high dose of fish oil for probely a around two months then I ran out and started taking it again a week or two ago I really can't tell a diffrence I have very very very bad ADD and also every ones brains are different so please dont think that I am trying to knock it I am just giving my experince


I found a peanut butter called Smart Balance in the supermarket. It has 1000mg of omega 3 fatty acid per serving (2 tablespoons). It has no sugar in it, so it's not the most delicious PB, but it's not bad in a sandwich. They also make a really tasty mayonaise with omega 3s in it.

Cheryl Bernoth

Fish Oil may not be taken if a person is participating in the DORE program.


Responding to Adam in Idaho Falls' question question about time management and getting things done. A couple of books I've found that are helpful:

Getting Things Done by David Allen. This is a great bottom-up method. I find his thinking very helpful for "clearing the decks" so I can think clearly and not feel so overwhelmed with all the million things my mind wants to do. Good methodologies for the Turbo brain. If you're anything like me, the ideas never stop flowing. David's methods help you to capture it all so you can think clearly about it all.

Another book would be Steven R. Covey's First Things First, which is more of a top-down method, making sure that in the midst of getting everything done, we're getting the most important things done.

I can't really recommend one methodology over the other. After a lot of trial and error, I've come up with methods that borrow from both books. Most important is to find what works for you. Don't be afraid to try new things. Keep what works, ditch what doesn't.

Hope this is helpful.


I'm confused. I recently started taking Omega 3 fish oil after reading about it in Delivered From Distraction. In the book you said that it was safe to take up to five grams (that's 5000 mg), but here you said recommended dose of 2000 mg.

I haven't been taking 5000 mg. I've just started with two of my 550 mg tablets. I can up that to closer to 2000. Since my tablets are 550 instead of 500, should I take four and go over by 200 mg, three and be under, or find another supplier? Also, should I take them all together with food or split it into two separate dosage times?

(The bottle says this brand has 550 mg fish body oil providing 185 mg omega 3, of which 95 mg is EPA and 64 mg is DHA--I'm not sure what difference that would make. I'm still trying to learn how the omega 3 works.)


One other question:
I have a friend searching for information for her nearly 14 y/o son who's somewhat hefty. She has been giving him some omega 3, but not having any results. All the dosage advice is for children or adults. He isn't an adult yet, but certainly isn't a child. How do you figure out safe dosages for teenagers with fairly severe ADD and learning disorders?


Is there any more updated information on this study? And/or any follow up information of dosage,ratios of epa/dha, etc.?

I have a 6 year old girl who's been taking omegabrite for almost 6 months, but we haven't noticed an improvement in her symptoms as yet.


I too have had difficulty trying to find an accurate reference on the correct ratio of EPA/DHA in omega 3 fish oil, as well as the correct dosing for children. Also looking for capsules that are not 'huge' so my 8 y/o can swallow them. A liquid could work, but concerned about dyes in them as well. Any input is appreciated. thanks

Dr. Stu Rosan

Appreciate your blog. I am family doctor who has paid the price of thinking outside the box and being very passionate about Adult ADD. Check out my blog if interested "The ADULT ADD BLUES AND DR.STU ROSAN".Had an email sent by Dr. Ratey in support of my dilemna.
The medical world unfortunately is still very resisatnt to ADULT ADD.
In my prctice, my patients were healthier;less stressed;manage diets better and were more compliant on medicine for their ADD.
The state board finally has prevented me from treating my patients with stimulants. My patients are furious. ONLY HAD ONE LAWSUIT 20 years ago and
Hopefully other doctors won't be punished for treating patients Adult ADD.
On every new diagnosed ADD patient,I advised my patients to purchase "Driven to Distraction", since in my opinion , it is the Bible for Adult ADD.


Dr. Hallowell, 31 with ADHD inattentive type. I'm using Nordic Natuirals Cod Liver Oil which supplies in 1 teaspoon

1260 mg omega 3's
410mg EPA
625mg DHA

How much should I use of this?


In your book Delivered from Distraction you gave exercises that help with concentration etc.. The one that uses triangles, squares circles etc.. Would you be able to share more exercises? Maybe 1 per month to keep us actively training our brains??


I saw that you wrote the forward to a book on homeopathic remedies for the treatment of ADHD. Are you currently recommending these treatments for your patients and what have you found to date?

Kathy Evans

Dr. Hallowell, My husband and I have custody of our 7 yr,old grandson. We're trying him on omega-3 tablets to help w/focusing problems in school. He's only been taking them for 2 weeks, so far no noticeable change from his teachers. We are having an extremely difficult time dealing with the school and his teacher. He will be having a complete psych eval on 12/17 and they are doing a "child study" in school. Everyday, we get notes home about how he didn't have a good day. Teacher says he doesn't listen on the playground; doesn't focus in classwork----but report card grades were all in the 90's-----doesn't get along with the other children; gets out of his seat frequently; and the list goes on and on. We are so frustrated and school has only been in session 3 month! I'm thinking of homeschooling him! Any advice? Thank you, kathy


Anyone have any information or experience in dealing with the Army as an already enlisted member and ADHD or stimulant meds?


I have just started reading your site and am very pleased by what I find!

The bit on fish oil is really interesting. I have ADD and in childhood had ADHD. When we were in the lower grades,up to say grade 6, it was mandatory that we take cod liver oil every day. it was free and issued by the department of Education.

The combination of coming off fish oil in grade 7, coupled with the approach of teen years, may explain a shift in my ability to study, attend school and make fairly good grades.

I'll be watching this with great interest.
Cheers. Kate


Wondering if you have any updated info on the any success rate of Omegabrite? Is it worth it, has anyone had any marked changes using it?

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