A parent’s job is never done, especially when it comes to supporting our children’s well-being. Here’s some recent nutritional research to support you on your chase down the path of improved health.
Most kids aren’t getting enough omega-3s
Not a lot is known about children’s omega-3 fatty acid consumption, particularly the fats called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). A recent study attempted to quantify the intakes of 20 toddlers ages two to three by analyzing diet data collected over three days.
Only 5 percent of the toddlers hit the recommended EPA and DHA dietary intakes. “Efforts to narrow this gap should focus on increasing EPA and DHA intakes by appropriate fish/seafood consumption along with enriched foods or supplements if necessary,” the researchers concluded.
Consider an omega-3 fatty acid supplement for your child. These come in multiple forms and, unlike the fish oil many of us grew up with, can even taste good. Vegetarian options are also available.
Good supplements make for good mornings
Vitamin D and omega-3 insufficiency are linked to nocturnal enuresis—aka bed-wetting. So a two-month, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial recently looked at the effect of supplementing with vitamin D and omega-3s on bed-wetting.
A total of 180 children between seven and 15 years old with this condition were assigned to four groups: Group A received 1,000 IU of vitamin D daily; group B received 1,000 mg of omega-3s daily; group C received both; and group D, a placebo.
Supplementing with either vitamin D or omega-3s reduced the number of wet nights by 44 and 28 percent, respectively, compared to placebo. Combined supplementation didn’t seem to increase single-supplement effectiveness.
A nutritional intervention for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) looks promising
A recent 12-month, single-blind, randomized, controlled study considered a nutritional and dietary intervention in 67 children and adults with ASD between the ages of three and 58. Treatment included a vitamin/mineral supplement along with essential fatty acids, carnitine, digestive enzymes, and a healthy gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free diet, combined with Epsom salt baths.
Compared to a group of 50 controls, the treatment group saw significant improvements in developmental age, multiple nutrient levels, and more.
“The positive results of this study suggest that a comprehensive nutritional and dietary intervention is effective at improving nutritional status, nonverbal IQ, autism symptoms, and other symptoms in most individuals with ASD,” wrote the researchers in the journal Nutrients. Please consult a qualified health professional to explore nutritional intervention options for this spectrum of conditions or any other children’s health concern.
Mom’s diet affects baby’s immunity
An evaluation of 260 original studies considering the relationship between diet during pregnancy, lactation, and the first year of life and future risk of allergies or autoimmune diseases found that maternal diet has an impact on the risk of immune-mediated diseases in children. In addition, probiotic and fish oil supplementation in mothers may reduce the risk of eczema and food sensitivities in their children.
Time for a jaunt to your local health food store to discover what other options await you and your family!