Multiple recent studies have confirmed that childhood disorders like autism and ADD / ADHD are on the rise and have been for some time. It seems clear to me that this is the end result of exposure to environmental chemicals in the womb and less than optimal maternal nutrition, or some combination thereof. Chemicals known to affect brain development are almost everywhere, prescription prenatals are of shockingly low quality and our country’s collective diet is horrendous.
If this is true, it unfortunately means that the child’s brain may be susceptible due to factors involved in the womb. We likely cannot change this predisposition. If this predisposition meets an triggering factor (immunization, nutrient deficiency, more toxin exposure, processed foods and chemicals, etc…) something is likely to happen, and the end result could be autism, ADD / ADHD, type 1 diabetes or even childhood cancers.
I have come across many studies over the years espousing the benefits of certain natural compounds like probiotics and fish oils. At times, the long list of conditions that have shown to benefit can make someone near giddy with excitement. However, once you come down you realize that many of these conditions would likely not exist in the first place had we not removed healthy fats from our diet and blast our normal, protective bacterial flora to smithereens with antibiotics at the slightest hint of a sniffle.
With that being said, this particular study looked at the potential benefit of the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA on ADHD behaviors in children and found an improvement in several parameters with the supplementation.
Rather, it wasn’t actually the supplementation that demonstrated the positive effect, but rather the DHA levels in the red blood cells of the children. This can be an important distinction and may relate to factors such as compliance with supplementation (better compliance for longer periods of time will raise DHA levels better) and the availability of other, less healthy fats in the diet.
Couple this with an unprocessed diet free of chemical additives, sugars and food dyes and it is likely you will begin to see positive changes in a young child’s brain and behavior. What is there to lose by trying?