FOR PARENTS: Parenting: A Magic Pill for Reading Skills

A bedtime storyThe fatty acids DHA and EPA found in fish oil may do far more than prevent heart disease and enhance immune systems. A groundbreaking new study out of Oxford University in the UK makes a strong correlation between low levels of omega-3 and problems with reading and focus in kids. The study took blood samples from just under 500 British school children, aged 7-8 who were reported to be below grade level in reading. The researchers found astonishingly low levels of the important long chain omega-3 fatty acids vital to brain structure and memory in nearly all the children. And the blood levels of the long chain omega-3, DHA, directly predicted how well the young students were able to focus and learn.

DHA and EPA are found primarily in seafood and must be taken in consistently through diet. In the UK, the dietary guidelines for children include consuming fish three times a week. Most of the slow readers in the study ate fish less than twice a week and ten per cent of them didn’t eat fish at all.

If parents are concerned about mercury levels in today’s harvested seafood, then a supplement should be given to children. To avoid the sour faces and turned up noses associated with the fishy taste, try your local health food store in the refrigerator section for flavored liquid fish oil.

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