Omega-3 solution to children’s sleep problems
Sleep problems and deficiencies of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in children are both associated with poor health, behavioural and cognitive problems. A study by the University of Oxford suggests that increasing your child’s intake of algal DHA may improve their sleep.
In a 16-week study of 362 primary school children who also had reading problems, 40% of the children experienced sleep problems including anxiety about sleep, bedtime resistance and frequent episodes of waking during sleep. Given 600mg omega-3 daily, 43 children were monitored in sleep.
The study found that children who took omega-3 had almost an hour more sleep and suffered from fewer waking episodes per night than the children who took placebo. Additional benefits of quality sleep for school-aged children include improved language skills, and reduced academic and behavioural problems.
Montgomery P, Burton JR, Sewell RP, et al. Fatty acids and sleep in UK children: subjective and pilot objective sleep results from the DOLAB study – a randomised controlled trial. J Sleep Res 2014 Mar 8. [Epub ahead of print]
Folinic acid and B12 for autism
Emerging evidence suggests some children with autism may experience abnormal redox and methylation metabolism. Currently it is suggested that redox imbalance and oxidative stress may contribute to the pathophysiology of autism.
American researchers have found that supplementing autistic children, who have abnormal glutathione and methylation metabolism, with vitamin B12 and folinic acid results in an improvement in behaviour and glutathione redox status.
After three months of treatment, behaviour was significantly improved with an average increase in skills of 7.7 months. The researchers found that the greater the glutathione redox status, the greater the improvement in behaviour including expressive communication, daily living skills, and coping social skills.
Frye RE, Melnyk S, Fuchs G, et al. Effectiveness of methylcobalamin and folinic acid treatment on adaptive behavior in children with autistic disorder is related to glutathione redox status. Autism Res Treat 2013;2013:609705.