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Dr. Jamie Fettig

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Fish Oil & Intelligence

Fish Oil Improves Intelligence and Learning in Children (and Adults!)

"Repeated activities create neural pathways between different parts of your brain. The more you practice a certain activity, the stronger that neural pathway becomes. These structural changes are the physical mechanisms of learning,"

This is the foundation for the concept "practice makes perfect." And the good news is that you can enhance the process even further by supplementing your diet with omega-3 fatty acids.

The BBC recently reported on a very small but remarkable study of children who were given fish oil supplements. The children took tests before they started taking the fish oil and again at the end of three months. During the study, researchers found that the children's reading age increased by a year, their handwriting became more legible and accurate, and they paid more attention in class. And brain scans revealed that their levels of a chemical called N-Acetylaspartate (NAA) drastically increased. (This is the brain chemical linked to the growth of the nerve fibers Dr. Sears was referring to in that ETR article.)

Commenting on the results, the lead researcher said, "In three months you might expect to see a small NAA increase. But we saw as much growth as you would normally see in three years. It was as if these were the brains of children three years older." 

Omega-3 fatty acids are absolutely essential for all of us, young and old. But they are especially important for children, whose brains are still developing. To ensure that you (and your children) are getting enough omega-3, consider taking a fish oil supplement in addition to eating fatty fish, grass-fed beef, eggs, walnuts, and flax.


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