Recommendations concerning fish oil supplements and dyslexia treatment arise, at least in part, from research conducted at Oxford University in 2005.
Researchers investigating the possible benefits of fish oil in children with developmental coordination disorder, a condition affecting approximately 5% of school age children, concluded that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may be a safe and effective treatment option for educational and behavioral problems.
Research has shown that the average diet is too high in omega-6 fatty acids, found in most meats and dairy products, and too low in omega-3 fatty acids, found primarily in fish.
By eating fish three to five times per week, instead of other types of meat, nutritionists believe that this imbalance can be corrected. In addition, many experts recommend daily fish oil supplements.
Dosage recommendations for fish oil supplements vary, depending on several factors. Body weight is of course a primary consideration for children. For healthy adults and teenagers over the age of 14, the daily recommended intake of omega-3 fatty acids is 1600mg for men and 1100mg for women. For adults with heart disease or arthritis, the dosage recommendation is usually higher.
Dosage recommendations relating to fish oils supplements and dyslexia treatment have not been established, but acceptable intake levels of omega-3 fatty acids for children have been defined. From one to three years of age the omega-3 recommendation is 700mg/day, for ages 4-8 900mg/day and for ages 9-13 1200mg/day.
If after evaluating your child's normal diet, you do not believe that he or she is getting enough omega-3s, supplementation may be advisable. These fatty acids are important to both growth and neurological development.
The fish oil supplements used in the Oxford study contained a total of 732mg of omega-3 fatty acids, given on a daily basis to children between the ages of 5 and12 years of age. Researchers had hoped to see improvement in motor skills after 3 months of active treatment, but there was no improvement in this area.
The areas that did show a significant improvement were in reading and spelling. A reduction in behavioral problems typically associated with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder was also noted.
None of the children had been formally diagnosed with ADHD, but their scores on assessment tests placed them within the range for a clinical diagnosis of this disorder. Confirmation of the presence of ADHD would have required a complete psychological assessment and was not feasible during the study.
Most people are aware of the many health benefits of fish oil supplements. But, the area of fish oil supplements and dyslexia treatment is relatively new.
Although most doctors are aware of the health benefits of fish oil, the majority do not prescribe it, according to surveys. Reasons for not prescribing or recommending fish oil supplements typically revolve around the amount of time that the doctor has to spend with the patient.
No adverse side effects were reported in the Oxford study. No health risks are associated with fish oil supplements, except in the case of those people who are taking prescription blood thinners or who have bleeding disorders.
Over the years, results of research concerning fish oil supplements and dyslexia improvement have been mixed. There could be many reasons for this variation, but the majority of evidence indicates that reading ability and other literacy skills may be improved by increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids.