The other week, I completed my stint in the OCEAN study, (see earlier post). The OCEAN study researching into Omega Oil supplements, as a way of helping adults deal with the negative aspects of ADHD. Research is funded by Vifor Pharmaceuticals manufacturers of EYE-Q, an omega food supplement currently found anywhere that you would buy a food supplement. What is great about this is study is that it offers an alternative to many ADDers, who either choose to not medicate or they wish they could, but due to medical conditions they can’t use stimulants. PhD Researcher, Ruth Cooper and Prof. Philip Asherson of the Institute of psychiatry, King’s College London, head the UK branch of research, part of a European wide study.
For the past six months, I have been consuming what I believed to be Omega oil supplements. The study is double blind, meaning that both the researchers and the participants have no idea if participants are using placebo (not the 90s brit-pop band, but a treatment that has no affect) or active “treatment”, in this case being Omega oil capsules. Effectively, I could have been on capsules filled with coloured water, but for some reason I had a feeling that I was on active Omega Supplements.
The final sessions consisted of another period of EEG readings, yet again wearing that rather fetching white latex cap, researcher and assistants attach EEG sensors to my scalp, some really tedious questionnaires and cognitive tasks including the WIAT2. What was interesting about the WIAT2 results, was that my reading ability for my age group had improved I was now in the top 21% of the population. With reference to my final Reading Effectiveness score from the SuperReading Course, that’s a further improvement of 20%. To my delight I also repeated a task I did in my first session, six months ago. I believe the aim of the task is to measure frustration levels. I’ve never thought the task to be frustrating, I’m not really sure why, but every time I did the task I thought it was hilarious. During my hilarity, the thought that if I was “cracking up” with laughter, being only walking distance from the Maudsley Hospital was of some reassurance. After all was complete, Ruth walked in with a sealed envelope; it was somewhat like being on a TV game show. However, the prizes I had won, consisted of a Tesco voucher for obtaining a high score in one of the tasks; so, alas: no speedboat. In the envelope was the information about whether I had been on a placebo or not.
My feeling was right; I found out that I (OCS001, sounding like a secret agent on the trail of something fishy) was on the active capsules, meaning that for the past six months I was on Omega supplements. Interestingly my wife and I had noticed that my mood was a bit more stable. One could ask whether the omega oils have had an affect in themselves or whether the combination of the ADHD medication I take with supplements, may have a collaborative positive affect. Furthermore, since my diagnosis my life situation and lifestyle have changed. I am no longer vegetarian; as a result, I have a diet that is high in protein, which is recommended to help with the absorption of dopamine. I’m fairly active, I run and skate pretty much everyday; exercise has been proven to help with the negative aspects of ADHD and the general well being in all of us ADDer or not. So far Prof. Philip Asherson has shared that “There does seem to be a qualitative effect that people on oils notice so far – it seems very interesting.” I’m curious to see if the quantitative results from the cognitive tasks, to see if they showed any correlations. Maybe there is something in it… but why? I’d like to think it has something to do with human evolutional or migratory history. Maybe people with ADHD have genetic links to civilisations that lived by the sea, or the food we ate in the past was more Omega rich or there was greater access to Omega rich food. As people began to farm and congregate, more and more ate wheat based foods and farmed animals, that have less nutritional content, compared to the of free roaming animals that would have been hunted. The research is still on going, so when the European study draws to an end, who knows what other questions will arise. If you think you have ADHD traits and you would like to be a participant you can use our OCEAN study ADHD questionnaire. You can also use the results to help you decide if you want to seek a full assessment. There’s an option that will allow you to forward you contact details to the researcher if you wish to partake in the OCEAN study.