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Diet, Nutrition & Dyslexia
It appears that more and more people have dyslexia, dysgraphia and other learning difficulties. Why is that? Is it because of our diets?
Take a look at the sections below, which may explain why there appear to be more people with these difficulties around.
Below you will find comprehensive information on Fatty Acids; Fatty Acids & Vegetarians; Iron Deficiencies & Zinc Deficiencies.
Introduction to Diet, Nutrition & Dyslexia
For many years there has been a lot of research to show that in some cases, dyslexia and other Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) could be due to a vitamin/mineral deficit.
Many scientific studies have shown that a nutritionally complete diet is necessary to develop the vision, learning ability and co-ordination. But, are our children getting a well-balanced diet, or should they be taking supplements? Can take supplements of fatty acids, zinc and iron cure dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD (ADD) and other SpLD’s?
Many parents who use these supplements say a resounding ‘yes’, and they now appear to be strong evidence to support this.
Fatty Acids & Dyslexia
Is a deficit in essential fatty acids to blame for the four-fold increase in dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and other specific learning difficulties that we have seen over the last 20 years?
There have been many studies that have shown that abnormal levels of fatty acids in the brain could be behind the practical and behavioural problems experienced by dyslexic children and those with dyspraxia and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Many research papers show that underachieving children improved dramatically when their diets had been supplemented with fish oils. The fish oils contain omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for brain development and function but are mostly missing from modern processed foods.
Several products contain fatty acids, and the following two that appear most popular; are ‘Efalex’ and ‘Eye q Micro’. These products include long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that play an essential role in developing the eye and brain, especially vision, coordination, memory, and concentration.
A natural approach to fatty acids
If you would like a more natural approach, the best way to consume your essential fatty acids is through your diet.
New research by the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research in Wales has shown that organic milk contains two-thirds more omega-3 essential fatty acids than ordinary milk.
People who do not want to take fish supplements can take Flax seeds or Flaxseed oil; these are an excellent source of omega 3, (EFA’s). The body transforms it into EPA and the EPA into DHA.
Many foods contain essential fatty acids, (EFA’s), including:
Oily fish, for example:
(Salmon has an enormous positive health benefit. It is rich in iron, packed with omega-3 fatty acids.)
Some studies suggest that salmon could boost babies’ intelligence when eaten during pregnancy. (You should only take supplements after checking with your doctor.)
Other Seafood, including:
* New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels and
Vegetarian/Natural Oils etc
* Flax seeds or flaxseed oil.
* Milk – especially organic milk.
* Pumpkin seeds & oil.
* Rapeseed oil (Canola oil).
* Soybeans & Soybean oil.
* Walnuts & Walnut oil.
* Wheat germ.
Iron Deficiencies & Dyslexia
There is research to indicate that even minor deficiencies in iron may weaken the immune system and impair general physical performance. Iron deficiency has also been implicated in a number of conditions including, learning disabilities and ADHD.
A study in France in 2004, has identified a link between iron deficiency and ADHD. Fifty-three children with ADHD were tested at the Child and Adolescent Psychopathology Department in the European Paediatric Hospital, Paris, and 84% of them had abnormal iron levels compared to only 18% in a control group. There appeared to be a link between the severity of the iron deficiency and the severity of the ADHD symptoms. The study suggests that iron supplements may be useful in treating ADHD.
The best way to ensure an adequate supply of iron is through diet. A diet rich in iron-containing foods is an excellent way to ensure the correct level of iron is maintained.
What foods contain good sources of iron?
Iron can be found in many foods, including
* Red meat
* Nuts and seeds
* Dark green leafy vegetables
* Bread and fortified breakfast cereals
How would I know if I was iron deficient?
The most common symptoms of iron deficiency are:
Care must be taken when using iron supplements because iron is not eliminated well by the body and you could end up with having too much iron in the body – which can be toxic. Before taking supplements of
any kind you should always take advice from your medical practitioner.
Zinc Deficiencies & Dyslexia
Zinc is one of our body’s most essential trace minerals. Some research studies have shown that people with dyslexia and other learning difficulties have been linked to a deficiency of this mineral.
What does zinc do?
Zinc is an essential mineral that plays an integral part in the body’s immune system. Zinc also helps to maintain fertility in adults, growth in children and boosts the immune system. A shortage can affect the healing process because the body cannot store it; therefore, we must eat enough in our daily diet to stay healthy.
While Zinc can be found in many foods, it can be easily blocked or destroyed by various things, including tannin (found in; tea, coffee and alcohol) and food colourings and additives.
How would I know if someone was zinc deficient?
The most common symptoms of zinc deficiency are:
* Lack of appetite.
* Skin problems
* White marks on fingernails
* Loss of taste sensation
Where can zinc be found?
Zinc can be found in many foods, including:
* Lean meat
* Cheddar cheese
* Wholemeal bread, wheat germ
* Whole grain cereals
* Dried beans (black-eyed peas)
* Fish (particularly herrings)
Zinc: Research and Dyslexia
There is some research to show that children with dyslexia and ADHD are zinc deficient. However, this research is still in its infancy, and a lot more work needs to be done to give us all a clearer picture.
Fatty Acids & Vegetarians
If you are a vegetarian, you can still get your fatty acids from several different things, including:
* Flaxseed Oil
* Flaxseed, Ground
* Rapeseed Oil
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