Supplements for dyslexia
Isn’t making dietary changes good enough?
The simple answer is no. As explained in last month’s blog, many dyslexic children are thought to suffer from leaky gut - this can affect the way nutrients are absorbed from food and it is therefore important to think about supplementing the essential nutrients that your child may not be absorbing.
So, what are these essential nutrients?
Every child is different and nothing can match having a full assessment by a qualified nutrition professional to determine their individual nutritional needs. However, there are a number of nutrients that are well researched and that appear to be useful in many cases. These are:
Omega 3 has been shown time and time again to exert beneficial effects on children’s brain health and cognitive function. The main source of dietary omega 3 is fish and if you can get your child (and entire family!) into the habit of eating 1-2 portions of oily fish a week then you’re definitely onto a winner. However, for fussier eaters supplementation may be the only option. Dosage will depend according to age and always follow the instructions on the bottle. Reputable brands include Eskimo Oil, Nordic Naturals and Wild Nutrition.
Vitamin D has been enjoying lots of publicity recently, and rightly so. It is a wonder nutrient that exerts a multitude of effects on the body. Unfortunately there aren’t many studies directly linking low Vitamin D levels with dyslexia, however, most of the UK population is now thought to be deficient in Vitamin D and it makes sense to correct this key nutrient in your child early on. We recommend testing your child’s levels before supplementing as this will help to determine the level and duration of supplementation. Testing is available via your GP and the nutritionists at Bridge to Health would also be happy to carry out this testing for you. It is advisable that you then re-test every six months to a year to ensure supplementation is still at the right level.
Vitamin B12 is widely believed to be one of the most important vitamins for cognitive function - it is also one of the first vitamins to stop being absorbed if your child’s gut health is compromised. Importantly Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products so if your child is eating a predominantly vegetarian diet they may be deficient. Vitamin B12 can be a tricky nutrient to supplement as there are different forms of the nutrient available and it is impossible to know which form is most suitable for the individual without further testing by a nutritionist. A good place to start can be a good quality multi-vitamin such as Wild Nutrition’s Food Grown Daily Multinutrient (Children’s).
Like Vitamin D, it is believed that much of the current UK population is also deficient in magnesium (this is thought to be due to the poor quality of the soil our food is grown in as magnesium is absorbed by plants via the soil). Furthermore, like Vitamin D, magnesium exerts many different effects on the body (it regulates up to 300 chemical reactions for starters!). It therefore makes sense to ensure your child is receiving an adequate daily supply of this nutrient. Magnesium is easily absorbed by the skin so Epsom Salts baths can be great way of increasing your child’s magnesium levels. Magnesium can also exert a very calming effect on the body so it may also have the added bonus of helping your child have a deep and restful night’s sleep, which is also vital for brain function.
This is just intended to be a brief introduction into the main nutrients that have been linked to brain health in children, if you want to find out more we highly recommend Dr Robin Pauc’s book ‘The Brain Food Plan”.
Giulietta Durante our Uxbridge nutritionist is happy to answer any questions you might have about your child’s supplement needs or to arrange for a Vitamin D test. Please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 07983 704 882
Liz Sedley is the creator of Dyslexia Gold (www.dyslexiagold.co.uk), an online dyslexia treatment program that treats vision and phonological deficit problems that cause dyslexia symptoms.
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