Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience 2020; 18(4): 469-483
Nutritional Neuroscience as Mainstream of Psychiatry: The Evidence- Based Treatment Guidelines for Using Omega-3 Fatty Acids as a New Treatment for Psychiatric Disorders in Children and Adolescents
Jane Pei-Chen Chang1,2,3, Kuan-Pin Su1,2,3,4
1Mind-Body Interface Laboratory (MBI-Lab) and Department of Psychiatry, China Medical University Hospital, 2College of Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan, 3Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, London, UK, 4Department of Psychiatry, An-Nan Hospital, China Medical University, Tainan, Taiwan
Correspondence to: Kuan-Pin Su
Department of Psychiatry, China Medical University Hospital, No. 2, Yuh-Der Road, Taichung 404, Taiwan
Received: June 18, 2020; Accepted: June 24, 2020; Published online: November 30, 2020.
© The Korean College of Neuropsychopharmacology. All rights reserved.

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Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (or omega-3 PUFAs, n-3 PUFAs) are essential nutrients throughout the life span. Recent studies have shown the importance of n-3 PUFAs supplementation during prenatal and perinatal period as a potential protective factor of neurodevelopmental disorders. N-3 PUFAs have been reported to be lower in youth with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and major depressive disorder (MDD). N-3 PUFAs supplementation has shown potential effects in the improvement of clinical symptoms in youth with ADHD, ASD, and MDD, especially those with high inflammation or a low baseline n-3 index. Moreover, it has been suggested that n-3 PUFAs had positive effects on lethargy and hyperactivity symptoms in ASD. For clinical application, the following dosage and duration are recommended in youth according to available randomized controlled trials and systemic literature review: (1) ADHD: a combination of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) + docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) ≥ 750 mg/d, and a higher dose of EPA (1,200 mg/d) for those with inflammation or allergic diseases for duration of 16−24 weeks; (2) MDD: a combination of a EPA + DHA of 1,000−2,000 mg/d, with EPA:DHA ratio of 2 to 1, for 12−16 weeks; (3) ASD: a combination of EPA + DHA of 1,300−1,500 mg/d for 16−24 weeks as add-on therapy to target lethargy and hyperactivity symptoms. The current review also suggested that n-3 index and inflammation may be potential treatment response markers for youth, especially in ADHD and MDD, receiving n-3 PUFA.
Keywords: Attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity; Autism spectrum disorder; Inflammation; Major depressive disorder; Omega-3; Adolescent.

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