Can DHA Mitigate the Symptoms of ADHD?

lyonsDr. Aoife Lyons, director of the Alltech Career Development Program, posed the following question at a health and wellness seminar during Alltech’s annual 30th International Symposium in Lexington – “Can ADHD be treated with the natural supplement DHA?”

Alltech, founded by Dr. Pearse Lyons in 1980 and headquartered in Central Kentucky, provides natural, nutritional solutions to the food and feed industries in North

America, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia-Pacific.

Having opened an algae plant in Winchester that is ideally suited to study Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), Aoife Lyons explains why Alltech is getting involved.

Dr. Aoife Lyons received her doctorate in clinical psychology from De Paul University in Chicago.

After successfully running her own private practice for more than 10 years, she returned to Ireland in 2012 to direct the Alltech Career Development Program.

Dr. Lyons studied and worked with ADHD firsthand while treating hundreds of children at her private practice.

She witnessed the negative effects of medication – including insomnia, mood changes and loss of appetite.

Having reviewed studies in the United Kingdom that showed the promising effects of DHA on children with ADHD, she sought ways to treat the condition naturally through proper nutrition.

“The research in the U.K. is pretty new and much more is needed,” she said.

“But this is cutting edge and forward thinking, and we need much larger, double-blinded studies to see what the outcome will be.”

Through her work with the Career Development Program, Dr. Lyons deals with an international clientele and is intrigued by Alltech’s multiculturalism.

She notes that DHA is found in fish oil, whose salutary effect on the human brain is now well established.

“Research shows that Asian cultures, which have diets rich with fish, have lower incidence of ADHD, and in Japan, there is lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease,” Lyons said.

Although not conclusive in themselves, these are indicators that DHA might alleviate ADHD symptoms, naturally, without medication.

The reaction to Dr. Lyons’ presentation at the Alltech Symposium was encouraging. Attendees approached her afterward, not so much as professionals but as parents.

A familiar inquiry was, “Can this help my child?”

When it comes down to it “the goal is to develop happy, successful children. If this can help, great! We know that DHA is a natural supplement. It can’t hurt,” Dr. Lyons said.

Another intrigued attendee was Aoife’s father. Dr. Pearse Lyons’ question to her was: “How can we get this going?”

He urged his daughter to consult her colleagues in Ireland, and mentioned that if the algae plant is a good place to research DHA, then “let’s do it.”