22 July 2007

something fishy

Life in St. P has been really quiet the last week. The streets are emptier of both cars and people. (Including my car. Yes, someone popped the defective handle which turned on the interior light which drained the battery. Again. Does a car really have to be driven regularly in order to keep the battery charged? Seems like an urban myth to me... If it's true, how regularly is regularly?) I thought I'd have a nice informative post on Russian ex-pat living for you, but I don't. Everyone is at their dachas. I don't have a dacha, so I painted my classroom. (It is now all a light green with different sizes of darker green, orange and white polka dots. Round mirrors are being added to bounce some light around that little closet of mine.)

But, I've been doing some interesting reading on Omega 3 fatty acids. I've been reading anecdotes about how it's helped pi kiddos. The theory is that the Omega 3's aid in neuro development. Often institutionalized children receive neither the stimulation nor the nutrition necessary for optimum brain development. Introducing Omega 3 (an essential fatty acid), and, to a lesser extent, Omegas 6 & 9 have aided in brain, eye and nervous system development.

What I find particularly interesting is the effect Omega 3 has on children with sensory disorders, ADHD and autism. Basically, Omega 3 helps the brain to self-regulate. Children and adults with the difficulties mentioned have brains that get overloaded. They have difficulty filtering out distractions. By increasing the amount of Omega 3 in a person's diet, the brain is able to regulate itself.

Here are a few powerful quotes from an article by Emily Cook. She was writing about a study in the UK. Students studying for their GCSE's (crazy-important exams given at age 16 or so...). Emphasis is mine:

The seven and eight-year-olds began with an average reading age of nine months above their actual age. But after three months on the fish oil supplement - containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids - they were reading at 18 months above their age.

Durham County Council has also pioneered several trials involving fish oils. In 2002 a trial of 12 primary schools with pupils aged 6-12 found the supplements significantly improved attention, hyperactivity and short-term memory as well as achievements in reading and spelling.

Another study showed that even toddlers whose communication skills were well below average could catch up in just months by taking essential fats. They also bonded better with their parents as they could concentrate on tasks and games.

This echos what ap's are saying. Their children are more focused and more verbal. I am going to start d2b on supplements when she comes home. And, I'm thinking about taking some myself! I know I don't eat enough fish. And, I've also found links between increased Omega 3 levels and decreased cortisol (that stress hormone that wreaks havoc--especially with my weight) levels.

Right now, my feeling is, it can't hurt. It's fish. How can that be harmful? Actually, it can. Here's my disclaimer: If you aren't careful about where your fish oil comes from, it can be harmful. Make sure you're using a reputable source. Otherwise you may have dangerous levels of mercury and other toxins in your fish oil.

Here's a link about Omega 3, if you're interested. It lists all sorts of things that it's purported to help.

I know this is a very rudimentary explanation. Anyone out there want to share their experiences with Omega 3? Please?


Rachael said...

I'm really interested in the link between omega-3 use in school age kids for behavior, concentration issues. I wasn't aware of that research but I'm going to try it. I'm so glad you told me: I'll let you know anecdotally what I think in a few months.

I can tell you that the essential fatty acids are the biggest thing right now in prescription prenatal vitamin supplements. All the best ones have it "for optimum fetal brain development". Some people get burpy on fish oil and can't hack the taste. It does come in coated gel caplets to reduce that. You can also get vegetarian (non-fish) omega-3's and DHA (Optinate is one). I think they come from plant sources like seaweed, etc. (no mercury too, although the good brands of fish sources have little to no detectable mercury either).

6blessings said...

Very interesting. I might give it a go. I have a large elementary school age data base right here in my home. Maybe I'll do my own trials.

Unknown said...

We've used various supplements with our kids, focusing on omega-3 though occasionally adding the 6s and 9s. Coromega worked pretty well. It's a pudding-like, orange flavored thing. No fishy aftertaste. Our older daughter can just take the fish oil pills with no problems, only minor burping. (I think the burping is actually a plus in her eyes.)

I don't actually know whether it makes a big difference in our kids because they've been on them for as long as we've had the kids. Jim and I also take the fish oil supplements, though we've fallen off the wagon lately. Maybe we need higher doses to help us remember to keep taking them!

Jenni said...

That is very interesting. I'll have to do my own trials at home. We'll use any self-regulations help we can get!

Tami said...

I've been looking at doing this for some time and after reading your blog, decided it was time to give it a go. I sent Meshack to the store to get the wonder-pills, but now I can't find a dosage anywhere? I know that if I give them too much it could end up having a laxative effect. I CERTAINLY DON'T WANT THAT!!!! Has anyone seen any dosage instructions? I'm also having issues with the pills themselves. They're horse pills. I don't know how I'll get Q-ball to take them, let alone Punky and JacJac.

kate said...

tami, i think it's brand-dependent. most of the things i've read have you starting out on a higher dosage and then reducing it. i wonder if there are some smaller, more kid-friendly pills out there. someone in a forum mentioned gummy bear ones...