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Absence of this in our diet is responsible for up to 96,000 premature deaths in this country annually! It is essential to our health – especially our brains. Unfortunately, many people are completely deficient and don’t even know it. Are you one of them??
The Vanishing Youth Nutrient – By Susan Allport
When Lisa Kepp* was 2 years old, she was diagnosed with a neurological condition. She had not said a word in her short life–and it wasn’t for want of trying. Lisa was so frustrated at not being able to form the words she clearly wanted to say that she flew into temper tantrums four or five times a day. The family was on pins and needles waiting for the next time the little girl would explode.
A pediatric neurologist diagnosed verbal apraxia, a speech disorder, and recommended that she receive intensive speech therapy. He suggested no other treatment. Lisa’s mother had heard, though, about studies linking omega-3 fatty acids to intelligence and healthy brains, and she thought she’d give them a try. She purchased a bottle of children’s DHA in liquid form and began putting half a teaspoon in her daughter’s orange juice every morning. Within a week, the young girl was babbling and her tantrums stopped. Amazed, her mother spoke to the doctors, but none of them would engage her, as she puts it, in a conversation about omega-3s. So Lisa continued speech therapy–and her omega-3s–for a year and will be starting preschool this fall with her peers.
A happy anecdote, to be sure. Ask any scientist, though, and he will admit that without testing, we can’t be certain that omega-3s fueled Lisa’s recovery. But he can point to a growing body of scientific literature that touts the benefits of omega-3 supplementation. Studies show that these special fatty acids accumulate in the brain and can aid children with learning disabilities, reduce violence in prison populations, and even improve everyday mood.
We can only obtain these fats through our diet. They are essential to the development of healthy brains and other metabolically active tissues. Indeed, research from the world’s top universities shows that these fats do much more than regulate our brains: They can also lower risk of heart disease, arthritis, and cancer. They even help fight wrinkles and may block fat-cell formation.
How could omega-3s possibly be this powerful? Scientists believe it’s because Americans are suffering from a widespread deficiency. A recent study conducted by Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, of the Harvard School of Public Health, found that the absence of these fatty acids in our diet is responsible annually for up to 96,000 premature deaths in this country. Scientists, however, are learning that fixing this nutritional deficiency is a bit more complicated than simply telling people to eat more fish….
(Prevention Magazine September, 2009)
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