I take Cod Liver Oil, eat flax seeds in my morning smoothie and snack on nuts on a daily basis to help boost my brain-power and general functioning. At first, I felt that the whole fish oil and flax seed push sounded like a health fad, but then I read an article about the link between essential fatty acids and brain functioning and I was mesmerized by the close link. As a self-proclaimed nutrition geek and an educator, I was intrigued by the science of increasing my intake this essential nutrient.
In the 1980s, researchers began to look at the link between children that exhibited hyperactivity and their essential fatty acid levels. The results of the studies showed that children exhibiting hyperactivity were actually deficient in essential fatty acids. Numerous studies since these original discoveries have eluded that the fact that children with low level of fatty acids have a higher frequency of behavior problems.
To get even more nerdy about the science of the brain, nutrition and how it effects learning, we need to dive further into the structure of our brain. The brain, “is compose of 70 percent fat. Docosahexaenoic acid DHA is the most abundant fat in the brain. DHA is an omega-3 essential fatty acid, which means that the body can’t produce it and, therefore, must be consumed through our diet.” ( Strickland, 2009) The truth is, fatty acids are the building blocks of the brain. If someone is low on fatty acids, it will start altering their ability to learn, memorize and pay attention.
It will probably not surprise you to know that deficiencies in fatty acids are also linked to Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Depression.
Since I am not a big fish eater, I had to find other ways in consume the correct amount of essential fatty acids in my diet. I decided that taking Cod Liver oil was the best solution for my family but I highly encourage you to do your own research on essential fatty-acids. I researched and was able to find an organic option that fit my needs. When searching for a way to integrate more essential fatty-acids into your child’s diet, I highly recommend consulting with your pediatrician, a registered dietitian or a natural health practitioner to ensure that you are gaining a healthy balance of your child’s nutrients and avoiding other health concerns that may derive from altering your child’s diet.
I have loved hearing numerous parents that I work with have success stories when they have increased their child’s intake of this nutrient. I look forward to hearing your stories.