Omega 3 & Child Development
The more we learn about the growth and development of us as humans, we are coming to realise the enormous impact of the mother’s health and nutritional status, and the effect that this will have on her baby. Did you know that the food a pregnant mother eats before and during pregnancy, and when breastfeeding, can affect her child’s health well into adulthood? “Nutritional programming” happens in the womb, and if the mother is well nourished, this will only but benefit the rapidly growing and developing baby. This is especially true of her intake of Omega 3 fish oils. Their value cannot be underestimated!
Mothers who take fish oils during pregnancy lower their risk of a premature birth and tend to increase the birth weight of their baby. Did you know that low birth-weight babies have a higher risk of heart disease in later life? Considering that heart disease is one of the top causes of death in the Western world, we can plainly see how nourishing yourself and your child during pregnancy and beyond, is so important for your child’s future health well into adulthood.
Taking Omega 3 fish oils before and during pregnancy can improve your baby’s neurological development too, resulting in higher hand/eye coordination scores and even higher IQ scores as they grow. Omega 3 fish oils actually make up part of the cell membranes of all brain and nerve cells. And deficiencies in Omega 3 fish oils can play a role in the development of diverse conditions such as Autism, ADD and ADHD, childhood obesity and Type 1 Diabetes, and even recurrent ear infections.
Do you remember the popular series called “A Child of Our Time”, hosted by Professor Robert Winston? It followed the lives of 25 children born in 2000 throughout the UK, and followed them into adulthood. Two of the children with behavioural problems were given Omega 3 fish oils for 3 months with significantly positive effects. One child’s aggressive behaviour practically disappeared, whilst the other who was previously withdrawn and non-communicative, became outgoing and a popular boy. Programs such as this have been an immensely important means of spreading the word about just how important Omega 3 fish oils are for our brain function, and therefore our behaviour. And we can clearly see how supplementation with fish oils, especially those with the greatest need for them, can be literally life-changing!
Dr Alex Richardson has over many years, been at the forefront of scientific studies assessing the value of fatty acids, specifically Omega 3 fish oils, for the treatment of behavioural problems in children. She has been involved in many scientific studies with children consuming fish oils, specifically with those who have dyslexia and/or ADHD tendencies but also other neurodevelopment disorders. Over a 3-month period of Omega 3 fish oil supplementation, a significant number of these children experienced increased levels of concentration, decreased anxiety, and their disruptive behaviour had significantly reduced. The Durham study also found positive improvements in reading and spelling that were highly significant too. In children with learning difficulties, their delays in reading and writing development will usually get worse over time. This means that early intervention is of vital importance. Those children consuming Omega 3 fish oils made very significant progress with reading and spelling within only a few months, and their progress continued to improve with regular supplementation.
Consider how much growth and development happens from the beginning in the womb, and then throughout infancy and into childhood and beyond! We must nurture and nourish this rapid, important growth, and “feed it” with the best ingredients we can, and for the brain, it’s definitely Omega 3 fish oils. As Dr Alex Richardson explains, “Fish and seafood are the only ready-made sources of the essential Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA which we need for our brains”.
Soon enough the holidays will be over and it’ll be back to school for the children. Back to the classroom, sitting still, concentrating, focusing and learning. Many children just want to be outside running about, and being back in the classroom environment can be a stress for pupils and teachers alike, plus the pressure on parents worrying their children may not be learning and progressing enough, or worse still if they’re being disruptive.
In order to nourish children’s brains and nervous system, and their immune system too, make sure you are feeding them smaller oily fish at least 2 times a week. Did you know that 1 in 4 people aren’t consuming any fish at all? Imagine all of the health benefits they’re missing out on. Make sure this isn’t you, or your children. These oils are just way too important. If you don’t like fish, then please make sure you supplement with a high quality, pure and stable Omega 3 fish oil, to ensure your daily intake of these “essential fatty acids”!
And remember, if you’re thinking about becoming pregnant or already are, do consider nourishing your baby’s brain and nervous system with Omega 3 fish oils from as early on as possible. It’s never too late either, so don’t feel guilty if you haven’t, because you didn’t know. Now you do, so just start eating your oily fish and/or supplementing regularly today! The health benefits will be massive for you and our future generations.
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