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The Power of Omegas and Vitamin E and How They Could Make a Difference in Speech Disorders

Verbal apraxia, a speech condition occurring in as many as 50 percent of children with autism, has long been a struggle to overcome with traditional speech therapies. Research into nutrition and autism symptoms has uncovered the fact that supplementing with the essential nutrients omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E can cause "dramatic improvements" in the speech of children with autism.

When 187 children were given omega-3 and vitamin E supplements, 97 percent were remarkably improved in speech, coordination, imitation, eye contact and behavior. Omega-3 has been believed to help with children who are considered "late talkers," but this research provides compelling evidence that it can not only help late talkers, but also children with autism who may have been struggling to find effective treatments before starting this supplementation.

Types of Omega-3

Omega-3 refers to a group of unsaturated fatty acids that are found in fish, fish oil and some plants. Our bodies cannot produce the first of these, linolenic acid, but from that first acid can produce eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), although not in optimum amounts. EPA and DHA are linked to improved heart health, lessened depression symptoms, and of course, improvements in autism symptoms.

Choosing the Correct Dose

The most common doses used in the study were 800 IU of vitamin E, and 280mg to 840mg of DHA omega-3 or 690mg to 2,085mg of EPA omega-3. In this combination, the most significant improvements were seen.

While more research is needed to fully understand the role vitamin E and omega-3 supplementation plays in treating autism, including these nutrients as a regular part of the diet can be an important part of improving symptoms and quality of life in children with autism.

References

Morris, C.R. & Agin, M.C. Syndrome of allergy, apraxia and malabsorption: Characterisation of a neurodevelopmental phenotype that responds to omega-3 and vitamin E supplementation. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, July/August 2009, Volume 15, Number 4, Pages 34-43.