Warning Warning: I am able to write to the configuration file: /home/grugeo3/public_html/includes/configure.php. This is a potential security risk - please set the right user permissions on this file.
The new book from Dr Alex Richardson
They are what you Feed them  Dr Alex Richardson
Home
Content of The Book
Read Sample Pages
Reader Feedback
Write your Review
Interactive Question Board
Inform a Friend
Promote This Book
Dr Alex Richardson
Support Dr Richardson's Work
Other Recommended Reading
What nutrients do I need
Order Now
 
Interactive question board

Here is a selection of questions previously asked by other readers and answered by Dr Richardson. Many other FAQs are dealt with in the book at the end of each chapter. If you would like to post a new question, please use the form at the bottom of this page:


General
1. I work with a young adult who eats her food very quickly an the majority of the time the food is swallowed without being chewed. At the moment her food is cut into very small pieces to ensure that she does not choke. Do you have any ideas on how we can encourage her to eat more slowly and to chew more thoroughly. The young lady is non verbal and has severe learning disabilities.
2. how can i get my 2 year old to eat?? she wont try anything!
3. Are there any physical signs that my child might need more omega-3 in their diet?
4. If I want to give my child supplements, which ones would you recommend?
5. My son, aged 7, finds it hard to concentrate in school. Would increasing omega-3 in his diet help him?
6. Do omega-3 fatty acids have any risks or side-effects?

General
1. I work with a young adult who eats her food very quickly an the majority of the time the food is swallowed without being chewed. At the moment her food is cut into very small pieces to ensure that she does not choke. Do you have any ideas on how we can encourage her to eat more slowly and to chew more thoroughly. The young lady is non verbal and has severe learning disabilities.
We've passed your question to Dr Richardson, and this was her reply:

Many thanks for your enquiry about the young adult with severe learning disabilities, who seems to swallow her food without chewing. I presume that having read chapter 5 of my book, you have some concerns that her failure to chew food properly may not be helping her digestion?

You're already doing the sensible thing in chopping her food into small pieces in order to reduce any possible risks of choking - and this will help to some extent. Given her communication problems, it will be hard to know the real reasons for her 'gulping' food down (as so many people do!). But if she has no obvious dental or oral problems, and has failed to learn by example that most foods should be chewed (ideally to a liquid) before swallowing, then this behaviour may be hard to address, particularly if it's now a longstanding habit. You certainly don't want to be adding any stress to her eating and mealtimes, and I don't know what time and assistance may be available for these, but perhaps some compromises could be found.

I'm sure you'll have already tried providing her food in smaller quantities at a time (just to slow the deluge!) rather than all of it being on her plate or tray at once. A further possibility that may improve digestion and nutrient absorprtion is to liquidise or mash at least some of her foods (in exactly the same way that we do for babies being weaned onto solids) - but you won't want to do this with everything, and this may not be appropriate if it might reduce her appetite or upset her in any other way. The most important thing is that she eats well, and has a varied and balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh, unprocessed foods.

Another option might be to consider the use of digestive enzymes with large meals - particularly if there are any indications that she does have problems with her digestion. These usually come in capsule form, although powder versions are available - or capsules can usually be broken open and added to foods. Please note, however, that this should only be done immediately before the food is served. (It is actually a good test of the potency of the enzymes to add them to, say, a casserole - and then to see how much of this has been turned into paste or liquid after half an hour!) For dietary advice in general, and certainly if you are considering the use of any supplements, I'd always suggest that you seek help from a suitably qualified professional. If needed, details on how to find one are provided in the appendix of my book.

I hope this may help, and wish you the best of luck

Alex Richardson
TOP
2. how can i get my 2 year old to eat?? she wont try anything!
Hi there

Have you heard of Netmums? Netmums is a unique local network for mums with a wealth of information and advice on being a mum or dad in your home town.

The network helps mums cope and enjoy being a mum. If you are a Dad, don't be put off by the name, Dad's are welcome too! ... as are childminders, nannies, grandparents, health visitors... and anyone working with families.

Netmums are a very good friend of Dr Richardson's, so we would recommend you take a look at them and see if you can find some good answers there.

www.netmums.com.

Let us know how you get on.

Regards
Fiona
TOP
3. Are there any physical signs that my child might need more omega-3 in their diet?
Yes, there are some physical signs and symptoms that could indicate deficiencies of either omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids, although do bear in mind that these can all have other causes and if your child has any persistent physical symptoms, you should always check with your doctor first that there's no underlying medical reason for these.

Physical signs linked to essential fatty acid deficiency (or omega-3 or omega-6) are discussed in more detail in factsheets and handouts available from the FAB research website, but they can include:

* excessive thirst
* frequent urination
* rough, dry or flaky patches on the skin - especially if this has a 'bumpy' appearance or feel (this is 'follicular keratosis', and is usually most noticeable on the upper arms and legs)
* dull or dry hair ('straw-like' rather than silky)
* dandruff
* soft or brittle nails

Atopic (allergic) conditions like eczema, asthma or hay fever may also indicate an imbalance of fatty acids. The omega-3 EPA has anti-inflammatory properties, as does the omega-6 DGLA, which is easily obtained from the GLA in evening primrose oil. In fact, evening primrose oil was found beneficial for atopic eczema in controlled trials (see the FAB research website for details) although there are other forms of eczema, and fatty acids won't help in all cases. No controlled trials have yet used omega-3 for eczema or related conditions, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that EPA in particular may help, and many individuals report that supplementing with fish oils helps to relieve some of their other allergic symptoms. Finally, omega-3 from fish oils have also shown benefits in controlled trials of rheumatoid arthritis, so if you or your child may suffer from these or other inflammatory conditions, a higher dietary intake of omega-3 could help. For these purposes high doses over several months are usually needed and as with other medical conditions, omega-3 should be seen as a complementary approach rather than an alternative to standard treatments, so always ask your doctor for advice.
TOP
4. If I want to give my child supplements, which ones would you recommend?
As a scientific researcher I consider it extremely important to keep my work independent of commercial influences, so my studies aren't financed (or otherwise influenced in any way) by any of the companies whose products I may choose; nor do I 'recommend' or 'endorse' any particular supplements. This is for you to decide (preferably in consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable practitioner who is similarly independent). What's more, I firmly believe that whenever possible it is preferable to obtain all nutrients you can from foods, not supplements, although I do recognise that this is not always practicable.

I'm frequently asked which supplements I've used in my own trials, but please remember - these will not necessarily be the ones that suit any given individual. Each was specifically chosen (from the products available at the time) for its suitability to the research trial in question. In my last three major trials involving fatty acid supplementation, the products used were first Efalex, then Eye-Q and now MorEPA. The latter best meets our current requirements of a high quality product providing at least 500mg of EPA in only one or two capsules.

Both MorEPA and Efalex (for those preferring a high-DHA formulation) are available from Nutritional Intelligence Ltd (www.nu-intelligence.com). This independent company has chosen to give a proportion of its revenues from these and any other products (including other quality supplements and books) to FAB Research on a completely no-obligation basis. So if you do wish to use any of the wide range of good-quality supplements on offer there, you will be helping to support further research at no cost to you.

I hope this helps to answer your question. Finally, please know that properly controlled research trials in this area are so few that I'm always interested in feedback from people who have tried different supplements. So if you have any comments on your own experiences, please let me know.
TOP
5. My son, aged 7, finds it hard to concentrate in school. Would increasing omega-3 in his diet help him?
Here is a question that is often asked by many parents of children of all ages. Attention and concentration problems could indicate a lack of omega-3 but you should always consider other possible causes too, and talk to your son's teacher about your concerns. For example, it's quite possible that even sitting somewhere elsewhere in the classroom might help your son concentrate better. (Are there some other children who may be distracting him? Might he be able to see and hear better if he was at the front rather than the back of the class?). Equally his concentration problems could reflect specific difficulties he may be having with learning, or anxiety about something else. Although I would certainly encourage you to look at your son's diet, other issues may need attention too.

Controlled treatment trials have shown improved attention and concentration in many children with dyslexia, dyspraxia or ADHD - and I know many adults who say that omega-3 helps them to 'clear the brain fog'. If your child is easily distracted, has real difficulties 'screening out' things that are irrelevant to the task in hand, or 'daydreams' (even without obvious distractions), it's possible that increasing his omega-3 intake might help.

Mood swings, undue anxiety and a low 'frustration tolerance' could also be indicators of a need for more omega-3 in their diet. In controlled trials, fish-oil supplements reduced the susceptibility to stress-aggression in ordinary students under pressure, and omega-3s are showing promise for helping to alleviate depression and related mood disorders in adults (see the FAB research website for details), although more trials in this area are still needed.

Sleep problems might also reflect a lack of omega-3, because these and other HUFAs (highly unsaturated fatty acids) help regulate the chemical signalling that determines when your child falls asleep and wakes up. Fatty-acid imbalances could therefore be a factor in some kinds of sleep problems, and many anecdotal reports I receive do suggest this. Again, however, sleep disorders come in many different kinds and they can have a wide variety of causes. FAB research is currently planning more controlled trials to look into the possible links between omega-3 and sleep, but as usual, lack of funding is the constraint. In the meanwhile use the sleep checklists and questionnaire in the back of my book to make sure that lack of sleep isn't contributing to your son's concentration problems.

Finally omega-3 isn't the only aspect of diet that can affect concentration. Some artificial food additives have now been clearly shown to have adverse effects on children's behaviour, and rapid swings in blood sugar levels can lead to similar 'yo-yo' effects on attention and concentration. You'll find more details in the book, and on the FAB Research website.
TOP
6. Do omega-3 fatty acids have any risks or side-effects?
With anything concerning your child, safety should always be your first concern. Fortunately, omega-3 fatty acids have very few limitations in this respect, as these are essential nutrients that should be in everyone's diet, although you should be careful to avoid possible contaminants in either fish or supplements.

No adverse side effects have been found in treatment trials of fatty acid supplements for ADHD and related disorders, nor in similar studies of omega-3 for adult mental health. However, these trials have only involved relatively small numbers of people, owing to the lack of funding for research in this area. Much larger trials have been carried out to investigate the benefits of omega-3 for heart health and some inflammatory disorders, and again, no serious adverse effects have been found. Having said this,

* large doses of fish oils can cause mild digestive symptoms (belching, nausea or loose stools) in some people, especially if the supplements are not of the highest quality

* there is always a possibility of allergic reactions in a small minority of people to any food or supplement

* anyone taking anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medications should be aware that large doses of fish oils can have similar effects, so the medication dose may need to be more closely monitored, and adjusted if necessary. Interactions with other medications are also possible, so although none have yet been documented, you should always be alert to this possibility

My advice is always: See your doctor first before you take any supplements (or make major changes to you child's or your own diet). Omega-3 from fish oils is generally regarded as safe at doses of up to 3g per day, but my advice for you and your child would be:

* if possible, always try to get your nutrients from real, fresh food (a regular intake of fish and seafood can provide plenty of EPA and DHA, while green vegetables, flax and some other seeds and nuts provide a simpler form of omega-3 from which the body should be able to make small quantities)

* if you do want to use supplements, make sure these are high quality, and don't give your child more than 1g daily without expert monitoring and supervision
TOP

Your question:
   
Home   l   Dr Alex Richardson   l  Write your review   l   Interactive question board
  Copyright © 2006 theyarewhatyoufeedthem.com All rights reserved.