King's College London

Research portal

Omega-3 fatty acids are related to abnormal emotion processing in adolescent boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rachel V Gow, Alexander Sumich, Frederic Vallee-Tourangeau, Michael Angus Crawford, Kebreab Ghebremeskel, Allain A Bueno, Joseph R Hibbeln, Eric Taylor, Daniel A Wilson, Katya Rubia

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-429
Number of pages11
JournalProstaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids
Issue number6
PublishedJun 2013

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

King's Authors


BACKGROUND: In addition to the core symptoms, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with poor emotion regulation. There is some evidence that children and young adults with ADHD have lower omega-3 levels and that supplementation with omega-3 can improve both ADHD and affective symptoms. We therefore investigated differences between ADHD and non-ADHD children in omega-3/6 fatty acid plasma levels and the relationship between those indices and emotion-elicited event-related potentials (ERPs). METHODS: Children/adolescents with (n=31) and without ADHD (n=32) were compared in their plasma omega-3/6 indices and corresponding ERPs during an emotion processing task. RESULTS: Children with ADHD had lower mean omega-3/6 and ERP abnormalities in emotion processing, independent of emotional valence relative to control children. ERP abnormalities were significantly associated with lower omega-3 levels in the ADHD group. CONCLUSIONS: The findings reveal for the first time that lower omega-3 fatty acids are associated with impaired emotion processing in ADHD children.

View graph of relations

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454