Can kids with DCD (Developmental Coordination Disorder) improve the condition by dietary supplementation with Omega 3 fatty acids?
DCD, or Developmental Coordination Disorder, affects around 5% to 10% of children, and also affects adults. It results in awkwardness and difficulty with various aspects of life, and in particular with activities requiring motor skills, like sports. It can result, for example, in such problems as lack of hand/eye coordination, and difficulty in managing some gross motor skills.
And having these difficulties can result in such problems as having an awkward and limiting posture. They can become clumsy and tend to fall over more often, and have other related problems such as difficulty in writing legibly.
Of course in children, who so love their sports, having DCD, or Developmental Coordination Disorder, can impact on a wide range of different areas of their lives. These types of problems can have impacts on their self esteem and self image and other potential psychological repercussions. They can experience lifelong problems such as very limited social skills.
And there can be physical repercussions from childhood DCD as well. Being reluctant to undertake sports and physical activity because of their difficulties in these areas can result in children becoming overweight and unfit, including in later life.
The causes of DCD are not really understood. But it is also known that children with Developmental Coordination Disorder may also be more likely to exhibit other problems such as autism, ADHD and various other learning disabilities.
In short, Developmental Coordination Disorder can be a very severe disorder. So it’s of interest that a study about Omega 3 and DCD has shown a link between increasing intake of Omega 3 essential fatty acids and improving the symptoms of DCD.
In the abstract of the study it is noted that “Mounting evidence suggests that a relative lack of certain polyunsaturated fatty acids may contribute to related neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders such as dyslexia and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.”
The study investigated dietary supplementation of children with DCD using Omega 3 and Omega 6 supplements. 117 children with Developmental Coordination Disorder were selected for the study. The stated result from the abstract was that“No effect of treatment on motor skills was apparent, but significant improvements for active treatment versus placebo were found in reading, spelling, and behavior over 3 months of treatment in parallel groups. After the crossover, similar changes were seen in the placebo-active group, whereas children continuing with active treatment maintained or improved their progress.”
And the conclusion drawn was that “Fatty acid supplementation may offer a safe efficacious treatment option for educational and behavioral problems among children with DCD. Additional work is needed to investigate whether our inability to detect any improvement in motor skills reflects the measures used and to assess the durability of treatment effects on behavior and academic progress.”
As with all these things this doesn’t necessarily prove that dietary supplementation with Omega 3 supplements and Omega 6 essential fatty acids will cure DCD, but it’s certainly something that any parent with a child with DCD should be aware of.
And there is strong and growing evidence that there are significant general health benefits, including to children, of increasing our intake of Omega 3 essential fatty acids found mainly in fish oil. This includes studies that are suggesting there is a fish oil ADHD link, or that increasing Omega 3 intake may also help withthe symptoms of ADHD. So there’s good reasons for kids, and all of us, to have adequate levels of intake of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids DHA and EPA. And currently most of us don’t.
So if your child has DCD, or for that matter ADHD, it may well be worthwhile considering introducing high quality Omega 3 fish oil supplements to their diet. It may help with their DCD and ADHD symptoms, but it’s good for them generally anyway.
And hopefully there will be more studies like this one confirming the link between improving the symptoms of Developmental Coordination Disorder by increasing intake of the essential fatty acids known as Omega 3 fatty acids.
Anyone interested in finding out more about Developmental Coordination Disorder can do so here.
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