All About Alternative Therapies
Dr. Sandy Newmark takes your questions on nonmedical treatments.
WHAT’S THE RIGHT FISH OIL DOSAGE FOR MY CHILD?
How much fish oil should my eight-year-old son be getting daily in order
to manage his ADHD symptoms? I can’t find any information on this.
We have not determined exact dosages for kids. The studies done on
omega-3s for ADHD have used a
wide range of doses. I base my dosage on the total amounts of EPA and
DHA in the fish oil product. You can
almost always find this listed in the
ingredients section. For younger
children, between four and eight
years old, I recommend a dose of
1,000-1,500 milligrams of EPA and
DHA. (If a product has 750 mg. of
EPA and 500 mg. of DHA, the total
would be 1,250 mg.) For older children, I recommend 2,000-2,500
Consider the ratio of EPA to DHA
when buying a product. I recommend using a product with about
twice as much EPA as DHA. I do not recommend using
a product containing only DHA or EPA. Studies indicate
that it is important for patients to have both.
Liquid or capsule forms of omega- 3 fatty acids are
best. The gummy and chewable versions have lower
amounts of EPA and DHA. Your child would have to take
too many of them to reach the recommended dosage.
M.D., is director of
the Osher Center for
at the University
of California at San
Francisco. He is the
author of ADHD
product to a few patients, one of whom reported significant success.
MORE RESEARCH, PLEASE
Most of the reliable scientific information
about ADHD comes from pharmaceutical
companies. How can we change this?
HERBAL HELP FOR ADHD
What is a good herbal supplement for
smaller children with ADHD?
There is limited evidence that supports using herbs in
treating ADHD. I do use valerian a lot. It calms hyperactivity, but it doesn’t improve concentration. Valerian
also helps with sleep problems and lessens the “rebound
effect” that some kids experience when stimulants wear
off. There is a small study that shows that a combination
of ginseng and ginkgo helps manage ADHD symptoms,
but I do not use these herbs much in treating ADHD.
Another study, on a product called Nurture and Clar-
ity, a combination of several herbs known to improve
mental sharpness, sho ws some promise. I have given this
Anyone who works in the field of integrative medicine is
aware of the disparity in research funds for pharmaceu-
tical and non-pharmaceutical therapies. Unless a non-
pharmaceutical company is going to make a big profit
from the study on its product, it is hard to get them to