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Can DHA Omega 3 Help Improve Your Child’s Reading Skills?

Children in class: Can DHA omega 3 help improve reading skills?

Is your child struggling with reading skills? No promises here, but according to a study by Oxford University’s Center for Evidence-Based Intervention, DHA omega-3 supplements may help.

Over the 16-week trial, the children receiving placebos progressed in their reading skills as expected. But those students who received DHA and had scored in the bottom 20% of readers at the start of the study advanced by nearly an extra month, while those in the bottom 10% gained nearly two extra months of progress. Students whose reading skills were less impaired — those whose scores had placed them at the highest end of the bottom third — did not see extra improvements with DHA.

Parents of the kids who received DHA also rated their children as more attentive and less restless, as compared with those who got placebo. However, teachers did not report improvement in the children’s behavior. See original post

DHA is considered one of the most important, if not the most important, of the fatty acids. It is one of the most important components for brain and eye function.

Interestingly, this study apparently showed no improvement in behavior though a different source previously indicated that there actually was noticeable improvement (see Omega 3 DHA supplements May Help Kids Do Better In School). A separate classroom setting review also involving British children shows similarly positive results.

Experts rightly recommend a diet rich in fatty fish, nuts, seeds or shellfish to obtain these fatty acids. What many fail to mention is that plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids supply you with ALA, and not DHA. The body can convert ALA into DHA, but the conversion is far from efficient and much of the DHA gets lost. Fatty fish, shellfish and sea algae are the best known sources of DHA.

Eating fish regularly is not an easy thing to stick to, depending on geographic location. Remember you want wild fish that has fed on the right “stuff”. The diet fed to farm-raised fish is not exactly the kind that makes for production of these fats.

For most of us, taking a good DHA omega-3 supplement remains the best way of obtaining this important fatty acid. For children, you might want to try cutting the pill and adding the contents into juice. Just make sure it is a good quality supplement or they (and you) won’t be able to stand the smell or taste.

So when should you start your child on DHA-rich diet? Frankly, you should a diet rich in omega-3 or taking DHA supplements before the birth of the child. In fact, you should start this before conception as it is not only good for the baby but yourself as well. Men too can benefit from Omega-3 DHA as it is a part of the male reproductive system.

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