Food for Thought

5 December 2004

Publication: Sunday magazine (News of the World)

Nutritional deficiencies can affect the way our children learn. By Sally Beck

One million children in Britain suffer with behaviour and learning difficulties. The huge upsurge in cases has baffled experts but new research suggests these conditions may be partly caused by a simple lack of nutrition. Trials show that 80 per cent of children and adults improve simply by taking a good, old-fashioned fish oil supplement. Here two parents tell Sunday their fishy tales.

WENDY'S STORY

Wendy Stott, 42, and husband Glen, 45, from Rochester, Kent, have two sons. Michael, 20, and Luke, 17, who is dyslexic.

Wendy says: “Luke was always different to Michael. He was more boisterous and lived in his own world. Concentrating was hard and he couldn’t even hold a pen. Michael was placid, sat reading books and loved drawing.

“When Luke started playschool, another mother thought he might be dyslexic. I knew absolutely nothing about the disorder, so I talked to the school and our GP. Both dismissed the idea. But as Luke grew older he became introverted, and spent most of his time watching television.

“When he was six, I went to a special-needs conference and met Dr Jackie Stordy, a nutritionist who recommended Efalex fish oil.

“It had an immediate effect. Luke calmed down and his concentration improved by 50 per cent. His speech developed and he would sit still and have a proper meal.

“When he was seven, we finally managed to get Luke a full diagnosis test to prove he was dyslexic – which we knew anyway. But it wasn’t until he was 14 that he got a place at a specialist school. It was fantastic for him as he’d been badly bullied at his state school.

“The difference is amazing. He’s more confident, alert and active. His reading and writing skills are improving all the time. He hated sport before, but now he loves football and has joined the swimming club. And he’s just been made head boy! He’s decided to stay on at school for an extra year. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

- Visit www.bda-dyslexia.org.uk for more on dyslexia. - For strategies, visit www.mindgameslive.com.

SUE'S STORY

Sue Johnston-Wilder, 46, and her husband Peter, 47, from Coventry, have a 10-year-old son, Alastair, who suffers from dyspraxia – a brain disorder affecting coordination.

Sue says: “Like many children with dyspraxia, Alastair had a difficult birth and his shoulders dot stuck. Nerves were damaged in his left arm which doctors said would heal, but his left side still isn’t coordinated with his right. He was accident-prone and by age two he’d broken his arm and leg.

“Dyspraxics find it hard to do two things at once – so listening and writing, for example, is impossible. Alastair couldn’t keep up and he was bullied for being stupid.

“We did eye therapy, an exercise programme and gave him fish oil supplements. The difference was amazing. Once, we forgot the fish oil and he didn’t cope anywhere near as well. But with it, he’s learning karate and hasn’t had an accident for ages.”

- For further information about dyspraxia, call 01462 454986

FACT FILE

Nutritionist Dr Jackie Stordy says: “The modern diet is deficient in oils that are vital for brain and eye function. Fish oil contains long-chain fatty acids (LCPs) which make up half the fat in the brain. LCPs provide building blocks for the brain and nerve cells – a deficiency affects learning ability, mood and coordination.”

Dr Stordy’s book, The LCP Solution – The Remarkable Nutritional Treatment for ADHD, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia, co-written with Malcolm Nicholl, is published by Pan Macmillan, £6.99.

Efalex fish oil is available at Holland & Barret, Boots and health food stores. Sixty capsules cost £6.99. For an information pack, visit www.efamol.com

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