Begin Omega supplements
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), Omegas 3 and 6 (DHA, EPA) aid in brain development and relieve depression.
Essential Fatty Acids
Rationale: Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are critical nutrients for humans. Two general categories of essential fatty acids are omega-3 and omega-6. Omega-3 fatty acids have relatively short shelf lives, so commercial food processing often hydrogenates or partially hydrogenates them, which provides long shelf life but eliminates their nutritional value. Thus, over 80% of the US population has low levels of omega-3 fatty acids – this is one of the most widespread nutritional problems in the US. Low levels of EFAs are associated with a wide range of psychological disorders, including depression, post-partum depression, bipolar disorder (manic/depression), and Rett’s syndrome (similar to autism). Most importantly, four published studies have found that children with autism have lower levels of omega–3 fatty acids than the general population.
One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids is fish, which obtain them from algae and plankton in the sea. Unfortunately, many fish are high in mercury and other toxins, especially the large predators (shark, swordfish, and tuna) that are at the top of the food chain and consume smaller fish. Smaller fish with shorter lifespans, such as salmon and shrimp, have lower levels of mercury, but it depends where they come from. So, it is generally safer for children to obtain essential fatty acids from fish oil from small fish, since little mercury is stored in the oil. Because fish oil (and fish) spoil readily, it is important to obtain a high-quality oil that does not smell or taste rancid, and it should be kept refrigerated. A high-quality fish oil should have only a mild taste.
Two of the major omega-3 fatty acids are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) & docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA is critical for early brain development, and EPA is useful for later development and is an important anti-inflammatory mediator.