Your grandmother was right: cod liver oil is good for you. A recent trend in integrative medicine is seeing the introduction of fish oil into the diets of children suffering from learning and developmental problems including dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Fish oil contains long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids; most important are two omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) believed to play a central role in the development of the infant brain and nervous system.
Some health care practitioners say the consumption of fish oil may improve children’s attention and focus when taken as part of a comprehensive treatment program.
In a trial at the University of South Australia Dr Natalie Sinn found notable improvements in up to 50 per cent of children over 30 weeks taking fish oil capsules rich in the omega-3 fatty acid EPA.
“EPA and DHA are long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that are both found in fish oil,” Dr Sinn said. “We know that omega-3 fatty acid DHA is also very important for brain development, and many parents are confused as to which formulation of fatty acids to buy for their children.
“We now want to compare long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA to find out which is most important.
“We also want to look more closely at the potential benefits of omega-3s for literacy in the subgroup of children with ADHD who suffer from learning difficulties.”
Dr Sinn said the new study would also investigate blood fatty acid levels in the children to help gain more information about which children were most likely to benefit from taking fish oil for learning and behaviour.
Try our delicious and nutritious Salmon with Garlic Mash and Rocket Salsa Verde recipe.