Healthspan Blog

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Omega 3 fatty acids for autistic children

1st April 2007

Question from a football message board regarding vitmains for autistic child:

We would just pierce the pills and put it in our Autistic 7 year old’s juice. Every now and then I still give it to him (when he can’t sh1t), I tell him its medicine and I mix it with orange juice and give it to him in a little plastic medicine cup. Is some flax seed oil pretty much the same thing? Would you recommend flax oil or these pills? Does flax oil provide enough omega 3? Do you know if there are any issues with mercury in the fish oil? You hear so much nowadays about the connection between fish and mercury…

Answer #1: We always used the fish oil, never used the flax seed oil. Not sure what the difference is. All i know is, he was almost 3 and not talking at all, we started giving it to him and it was like he was a different kid. He started talking in sentences almost immediately. He’s pretty much a normal kid right now 4 years later, there are still some issues but they’re minor compared to what was going on when he was 2. There are some days now where he seems very frustrated and angry for no reason (just in a bad mood) and i’ll give it to him and it seems to help. As far as a comparison to flax seed oil, i have no idea. The best seems to be Pharmanex’s Marine Omega – pricey but well worth it. This si the purest stuff you can find (from Antarctic krill) so totally natural and safe.

Answer #2: I’ve heard that. Flax seed oil might be a safer alternative. I take Omacor, i’m going to ask my doctor about the mercury next time i go. Some fish oils might have heavy metals. Flax seeds are the most abundant plant derived form of fatty acids, I think. They sell the oils in a liquid form and therefore, you don’t need to poke holes in the pills.

Answer #3: I think it’s better to mix it up, don’t just stick with one type of oil. Go back and forth between fish oils and plant oils. I tried hemp oil and it has a nutty flavor. Eh I think the party line of the medical profession is that there is no connection between mercury and devleopmental issues. I’d put more stock in soemthing from the manufacturer as to whether they are “mercury-free” or not. I’m going to switch to Marin Omega then based on the above poster’s advice. Unfortunately, though, it is not a simple OTC item. You have to have a friend who does network marketing or buy it online. You have to sign up as a customer if you don’t want to become a network marketer. Who said getting the best was easy?

Answer #4: “Hey Doc, you feeding me mercury?” “Of course I am!” I just can’t see that conversation going that way. So I wouldn’t trust a doctor. All they want to do is give you medicine anyway. I asked my doctor what vitamins my pregnant wife should take (morning sickness was bad and she couldn’t eat). He said no vitamins – just come in for an IV when she feels too weak. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Doctors just don’t get preventative medicine.

Answer #5: I found some articles about this. Apparently, fish oil seems to be better than flax oil.

I’m going to try fish oil. One question: How much did you give to your son when he was three? One full capsule?

Answer #6: My experience has been that flax seed oil gets an bad taste after it sits in the fridge for a couple of weeks. I like fish oil better for this reason.

Answer #7: Regarding our son, we started out with 2 a day, after he started talking we cut it down to one, and after about a year we stopped giving it to him. He didn’t seem to mind the taste, I never had a problem with getting him to drink it. I guess the orange juice covered it enough. It’s harder to disguise mixed with apple juice.

Answer #8: I googled flax seed oil vs fish oil and found this: Fish oil contains two omega-3 fatty acids known as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Flaxseed oil, on the other hand, is rich in alpha-linolenic acid, which is the “parent” fatty acid to DHA and EPA. Although similar in structure, the benefits of alpha-linolenic acid, EPA, and DHA are not the same. Your body converts alpha-linolenic acid rapidly into EPA, and more slowly into DHA. Roughly 11 grams of alpha-linolenic acid is needed to produce one gram of DHA and EPA. However, other foods in your diet can easily put the brakes on this conversion process. A diet that’s rich in trans-fatty fatty acids, for instance, will “interfere” with the conversion of alpha-linolenic acid into EPA and DHA. Trans-fatty acids are found in foods such as cookies, some types of margarine, chips, cakes, and popcorn. When you see hydrogenated oil on the ingredients label of a food, there are probably some trans-fatty acids in there somewhere.

Answer #9: We started our son on cod liver oil. I now give my son chewable lemon-flavored pills from Nordic Naturals that contain the full gamut of essential fatty acids. They now also have juice mixes and pudding mixes that contain DHA to make it more palatable. We originally started out with big bottles of cod liver oil (usually from TwinLab with a slight cherry flavor, though it’s still nasty) and gave him a teaspoon of that every other day since my elder son was about 2 or so. We switched to the Nordic Naturals chewables around his 4th birthday last year. They really seem to do a lot for his ability to focus and keep his moods more even.

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