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Boosting your child’s IQ

By Dr Renad Seheimat - Aug 13,2018 - Last updated at Aug 13,2018

Photo courtesy of Family Flavours magazine

Many people think that intelligence is something we are born with. New research is showing that this is partly true.

Our brain is composed of 60 per cent fat and every nerve cell is connected to at least 10,000 other cells through chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. Providing the right healthy fats and the needed nutrients for making these neurotransmitters can greatly improve your mental health at any age. Achieving an optimal supply of nutrients is central not only to intelligence and memory but also your mood and emotional intelligence. The trick is knowing how: 


Omega 3 oils 


Children eating oily fish three times a week or supplementing omega 3, especially DHA plus EPA and GLA (omega 6), have the lowest risk of developing behavioural and learning problems later in life. Omega 3 oils are important more for emotional intelligence than IQ. DHA is more effective for improving memory while EPA has an anti-depressive, anti-anxiety effect. Some studies even show that giving these healthy fats to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers increased their children’s IQ for 10 years. 


Eggs are good for you


Egg yolk is rich in phospholipids. These make up the healthy walls of our nerve cells. Fish, organic meat and eggs are rich in them. They are particularly helpful for memory boosting and learning difficulties. Free range organic omega 3 eggs are super foods for children.


Methylation nutrients


Faulty methylation (a biochemical process involved in almost all of our body’s functions) is linked to depression, memory loss and even low exam results. It can result from genetic predisposition, an unhealthy lifestyle or a deficiency in methylation nutrients. A simple blood test for homocysteine, vitamin B12, B6, B9 and zinc levels can detect this faulty process and is usually treated by supplementing accordingly.


Sugar makes you stupid


Avoiding high intake of sugar while providing healthy whole carbohydrates ensures proper fuel for brain cells without nerve damage. High intake of sugar is linked to lower IQ. The difference between high sugar consumers and low sugar consumers is a staggering 25 points. Blood sugar imbalances are also implicated in aggressive behaviour, fatigue, learning difficulties, depression and ADHD.


Allergies & food intolerance


The gut-brain connection is now well established. In other words, what’s going on in your gut could be affecting your brain. Chronic food allergy causes abdominal pain, fatigue, poor concentration, anxiety and missing school days, so make sure you test for it and treat accordingly.


Heavy metals


If your child’s performance in school is not improving with the above, it would be worth doing some blood test for heavy metals that are toxic to the brain in order to treat any toxicity. This includes testing for aluminium, mercury, copper and lead.


Optimum nutrition for the mind


In 1988, professor David Benton, a research psychologist, published results of his randomised double-blind study, in which 30 children were put on a high strength multivitamin and mineral, and compared to 30 other children on placebos and 30 children on nothing. Benton measured the IQ and, after seven months, the children on the vitamins had gone up a massive 10 points versus three points on placebo and nothing in the control group. Many studies show that there is no single nutrient that can increase IQ; supplementation of nutrients in combination yields the best result.


The writer is clinical pathologist & laboratory medicine specialist. The article is reprinted with permission from Family Flavours magazine

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