Over the past decades, the number of children and teenagers with ADHD has skyrocketed, and the diet has a lot to say. According to a new American-Canadian study, supplementing with all the essential vitamins and minerals can improve young ADHD sufferers’ mood, emotional disturbances, and ability to concentrate. The supplements can even stimulate their growth.
Preterm babies have a risk of impaired vision, but if they are given supplements of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids at the age of two and half years their vision improves. This was demonstrated in a Swedish study that is published in The Lancet Regional Health – Europe. The scientists explain why these fatty acids are so important, not just for eye health but for the brain and for health in general.
- and normal B12 supplements are often not enough
Vitamin B12 is only found in animal sources, which is why vegetarians and vegans risk getting too little. If children lack vitamin B12 it may result in underdeveloped motor skills and anemia, according to a study from Burkina Faso that is conducted in collaboration with the University of Copenhagen and Doctors Without Borders (Médecins sans Frontières). The scientists point out that vitamin B12 deficiencies are a big and overlooked problem and that normal B12 supplements are often not enough so new solutions are required.
Refined foods and plant-based diets lack vital nutrients that are highly important for a pregnant woman and the development of her unborn child’s body and brain. This was shown in a large study of mothers from high-income countries, where 90 percent of the participants lacked key nutrients such as vitamin B2, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin D. These widespread deficiencies have huge health consequences, which may be irreversible for the child. The scientists explain that the problem is made worse by the global push for eating more plant-based diets. Lack of omega-3 fatty acids that are primarily found in oily fish is also common and may harm the development of the child’s brain and increase the risk of postnatal depression in the mother.
During pregnancy, vitamin D plays an important role in the bone development of the unborn child, in the brain, and in other functions. Maternal lack of vitamin D during pregnancy may therefore have serious consequences for the fetus and its development. This also goes for the development of neurons in the dopamine-producing area of the brain, which can most likely result in dysfunctions of the dopamine balance, a problem that is seen in young individuals and adults with schizophrenia. This was demonstrated in a new study that is published in Journal of Neurochemistry. The study supports an earlier review article where it was seen that early stages of psychotic disorders like schizophrenia are linked to severe deficiencies of vitamin D and other nutrients with vital importance to brain health, especially during pregnancy.
According to WHO, the number of overweight children has reached epidemic proportions. Overweight children risk being overweight as adults and develop hypertension, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, chronic inflammation, and other metabolic disturbances. Apparently, overweight individuals often lack vitamin D, a nutrient that is important for regulating weight, inflammation, and many metabolic processes. This was pointed out in an Italian study published in Nutrients, where the authors address vitamin D’s role in health and explain why so many overweight people are vitamin D-deficient.
Iron deficiency typically results in anemia. Anemic children and teenagers don’t necessarily have distinct symptoms but are often pale and tired. Children with iron deficiency are also at increased risk of stunted growth, which makes this mineral extremely important for the developing child. Iron from animal food sources have the best absorption in the body, which means that a strictly plant-based diet may result in an iron deficiency. The same is the case if you consume too many dairy products, according to an article published in the science journal, JAMA Pediatrics. Here, the authors write that it is crucial for children to get enough iron, and they explain how to avoid a deficiency.