Omega 3: Children Improved Mental Powers by Three Years

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    Post Omega 3: Children Improved Mental Powers by Three Years


    These Children Were Fed a Simple Diet Supplement. Within Three Months, Their Mental Powers Had Advanced by Three Years

    The Scotsman

    03-13-07

    THE brains of children given dietary supplements for just three months underwent three years' worth of development, researchers reported yesterday.

    Tests involving four children aged eight to 13 showed that taking two doses of fish oils each day improved their reading, concentration, memory and problem-solving skills.

    Hi-tech scans also showed that taking the supplements - containing omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids and a pure form of Evening Primrose oil which provides the essential fatty acid EPA - actually led to changes in their brains.

    Scientists yesterday said they were amazed by the findings.

    The youngsters who took part in the pilot study - Zach, George, Rachael and Gareth, who were all classed as overweight - were given the supplements, called VegEPA, and encouraged to cut down on fatty snacks and fizzy drinks and be more active.

    After three months, the children showed an improvement in reading age of well over a year, their handwriting became neater and they paid more attention in class.

    They also faced a battery of tests, including a scan to look for biochemical changes in the brain, which revealed rises in a key indicator of brain development, N-Acetylaspartate (NAA).

    Professor Basant Puri, lead researcher from Imperial College London, said: "The results were astonishing. In three months you might expect to see a small NAA increase. But we saw as much growth as you would normally see in three years.

    "It was as if these were the brains of children three years older. It means you have more connections and greater density of nerve cells, in the same way that a tree grows more branches."

    The parents of 13-year-old Gareth said they were astounded by the changes they saw in him.

    Prof Puri said: "Gareth's parents told me how he had suddenly found TV boring, as he wanted to read. Three months earlier he was saying he couldn't understand people who loved books."

    Although the children were asked to change their diet, there was no evidence this happened to any great extent. Prof Puri said he believed the improvements seen in concentration and behaviour were solely due to the supplement.

    Fife-based nutritionist Carina Norris said she strongly believed that diet does affect behaviour. "This study is yet more back-up to all the evidence that is coming out that fish oils can have a beneficial effect on children's brains and behaviour.

    "I am all for children taking a good quality fish oil supplement, not only for brain development but also for their cardiovascular health."

    However she cautioned: "More research needs to be done. A lot of the studies were on a very small scale, and weren't proper clinical trials."

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    My kid is going to be soooo schmaaart! lol

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