Friday, July 25, 2008

The Importance of Fat in Brain Development and Function

High quality fats are important for both brain development and function. Smart Fats: How Dietary Fats and Oils Affect Mental, Physical and Emotional Intelligence is a book that outlines how critical the right fats (essential fatty acids or EFA's ) are for the brain.
Our brain is over 60% fat and the myelin, important for nerve cells, is more than 70% fat. If you eat processed fats, that is what will be in your brain and it will alter the way your brain works.

According to a lecture by nutritionist Kelly Dorfman, symptoms of a essential fatty acid deficiency are: wax buildup in the ears, restlessness, dry, flaky or bumpy skin, including "permanent gooseflesh." "Albert Einstein Hair." toe walking, and excessive thirst.

If you or your child has a few of these symptoms--especially the hallmark "permanent gooseflesh," you should consider supplementing them with Essential Fatty Acids.

According to my research, Nordic Natural is the safest to use because it is tested for mercury. My kids both take 1 tsp of Omega 3 by Nordic Natural. I tried many, many fish oils including the typical '"children" fish oil. But they were all fishy. Finally we found Omega 3 and everyone I recommend it to is able to get their kids on it after being unsuccessful with other products. We purchase it over the internet because I have found the ones you find in the health food store to be rancid and smell too fishy. After it is opened, it needs to be kept in the fridge so it stays fresh.

One reason that children can become deficient in Omega 3 is that, like fish oil, they can quickly become rancid so most processed food is stripped of their Omega 3s and are loaded with Omega 6's (corn, safflower, peanut, and sunflower oil.) The balance of Omega 3's to Omega 6's is also of critical importance.

See my post on EFAs for more information.