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Healthy Living: Fish Oil

When my now-11-year-old son was 2, he was diagnosed with autism.In addition to all the other challenges autism brings, he was non-verbal, ie, he couldn’t talk. He could make sounds. We did sign language, but one of our ultimate goals was to get Curt to talk like all the other “typically developing” children.

One of the interventions I read about was giving him a fish-oil supplement.

This was back in the day before they made children’s fish oil supplements, which are probably MUCH easier to take than the capsules I had to use. I would pierce the capsule, squeeze out the fish oil in the appropriate dosage and give it to my sweet little boy with a smattering of cinnamon sprinkled over it to suppress the taste. Curt, clearly, didn’t care how it tasted or smelled, he swallowed it down like it was dessert.

Fish are sometimes called “brain food” and fish oil supplements are usually made of mackerel, herring, tuna, halibut, salmon, cod liver, whale blubber, or seal blubber.  It doesn’t smell pretty, but it’s packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Interestingly, the body does not produce its own omega-3 fatty acids. Nor can the body make omega-3 fatty acids from omega-6 fatty acids, which are common in our diets. So taking the fish oil helps boost the levels of the Omega-3s in our system.The thought behind the fish oil for use as a supplement for a child with autism was that the omega-3 fatty acids would help the neurons connect in his brain more effectively.

I can’t honestly say they helped, but it certainly didn’t hurt, either.People of all types can benefit from a fish oil supplement (which are a lot more palatable these days!).

Some people use fish oil to lower blood pressure or triglyceride levels. Fish oil has also been tried for preventing stroke or heart disease.Some people use fish oil for dry eyes, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a very common condition which can lead to serious sight problems.

Women sometimes take fish oil to prevent painful periods.

Fish oil is also used for diabetes, asthma, dyslexia, obesity, kidney disease, developmental coordination disorders, movement disorders, certain diseases related to pain and swelling such as psoriasis  and joint pain.


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Posted in: Healthy Living

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