Help For Students: Brain Foods That Fight Dyslexia
But nutritionist Dr Jackie Stordy says there is increasing evidence that supplements of these ‘smart fats’ may compensate for the genetic or stress-related problems which prevent some children absorbing them properlyfrom food. Natural sources of smart fats include sunflower, walnuts, eggs, evening primrose oil and some fish.
Dr Stordy, who helped discover a link between a lack of fatty acids and disorders including dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, said certain gene defects are likely to put individuals at risk. This would help explainwhy dyslexia tends to run in families. Brain scans have shown that dyslexics have an abnormal way of processingessential fatty acids, which may trigger their difficulties in reading and writing. Swamping the body with fatty acid supplements appears to improve the composition and function of brain cells.
Dr Stordy has carried out research, to be published shortly, on 15 children aged six to 12 with dyspraxia, whichleads to problems with coordination. After four months of taking supplements, there was an overall improvementin skills such as catching a ball. ‘Some improved a little bit while others made huge improvements,’ she said.It also helped with symptoms of ‘social difficulty’. One child, for example, was able to stop taking laxatives for the first time in her life.’If you restore the fatty acid composition of the membranes I think you can achieve something,’ she said.
‘It is not going to cure dyslexia or dyspraxia and we don’t yet know how much benefit there is for children or adults. We need further research. ‘Two major trials involving 400 children and adults with dyslexia are beingcarried out in Northern Ireland and at Oxford University. Supplements of highly-purified fish oil, evening primrose oil, vitamin E and thyme oil, are being tested against a dummy pill.Dr Stordy, who is helping coordinate the research, there are many factors, apart from genetic problems, that could interfere with the absorption of essential fatty acids. These include stress, high blood cholesterol, old age, obesity, smoking, alcohol, diabetes, and a diet high in saturated fats. source