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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Jensen, Craig
item Butte, Nancy
item Voigt, Robert
item Llorente, Antolin
item Mehta, Nitesh
item Heird, William

Submitted to: Pediatric Research
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/14/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Recent studies suggest that dietary intake of the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), affects monoamine metabolism. The effect of DHA intake on the urinary excretion of norepinephrine (nor), epinephrine (epi) and dopamine (dop) was assessed in a group of children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) who were participating in a study of fthe effects of DHA on AD/HD symptomatology. Subjects with AD/HD who were being treated with stimulant medication were randomized to receive either DHA or a placebo for 4 months. Subjects in both groups received comparable doses of stimulant medication. At the end of this period, urine was collected for 24h and urinary free nor, epi and dop as well as creatinine (cr) determined. Heart rate (HR) during a number of scheduled activities also was measured over a 24-h period. The free nor/cr ratio and free epi/cr ratios of Group 1 were significantly higher than those of Group 2. The free dop/cr ratios of Group 1 vs. Group 2 were 373.5+/-78.6 vs. 321.3+/-84.2 ng/ml:mg/dl (p<0.1). Across groups, there were statistically significant correlations between free nor/cr as well as free dop/cr and mean 24-h HR and even stronger correlations between urinary excretion of these catecholamines and HR during specific activities. The correlation between free epi/cr and mean 24-h HR was not statistically significant. These data show that DHA supplementation of children with AD/HD being treated with stimulant medication results in higher urinary excretion of free norepinephrine and epinephrine and that mean 24-h HR correlates significantly with urinary nor and dop excretion. The mechanism(s) by which DHA increases urinary catecholamine excretions is unclear, but the resultant cardiac stimulation warrants further investigation.

Last Modified: 06/22/2017
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