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Preventing Degenerative Disease

Dyslexia - Dr. Mark Hyman

It is interesting that four million to five million years of human evolution occurred in a rich nutritional environment in which seafood was the main source of fats. There were no seed oils, which we now use to cook french fries, doughnuts and packaged foods. We have to ask ourselves what happens to our mind and body when our nutritional environment radically changes this way.
The level of the soy oils in our diet is unsafe. Recent research has found that homicide mortality in the United Kingdom increased dramatically with the increase in consumption of linoleic acid from soy oil.1 The same thing happened in the United States as well as in Australia, Canada, and Argentina. Conversely the homicide mortality rates are inversely related to seafood consumption, meaning that the more seafood people eat in a society such as Japan the less homicide they have.
Even more dramatic was a study that was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in 2002 that looked at the reduction in felony-level violent offenses among prisoners with supplementation of omega-3 fats.2 A placebo-controlled trial gave one group the recommended daily amounts of vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fats, and the other group retained their regular prison diet and lifestyle. By just providing vitamin and fish oil supplements, there was a 35 percent reduction in felony-related violent crime in the prison.
It has also been shown that a lack of fish consumption is universally related to depression. A one-year study of EPA was helpful in treating resistant depression.
Omega-3 fats are also helpful in treating postpartum depression. DHA from fish oils is a critical part of a mother's breast milk that helps neurological development in the fetus. Women who have higher levels of omega-3 fats in their tissues have lower rates of postpartum depression.3
Similarly, kids who have dyslexia, dyspraxia (difficulty writing), other learning disabilities, and attention deficit disorder are mostly omega-3 deficient. Dopamine activity, which is critical for brain function in these children, is improved with essential fatty acid consumption. There have been controlled studies showing that giving fish oil to children with these kinds of problems improves reading and spelling in treatment groups and improves conduct in school because the nervous system is very dependent on these fats to function.4
Omega-3 fats are well known for their benefits in heart health, obesity, and diabetes. They help prevent heart attacks, arrhythmias, and strokes; reduce inflammation; and prevent blood clots. But their effects on the brain are just as critical.
Omega-3 fats may sound like a miracle cure, and they can be in some cases. I have seen patients completely recover from autism by using cod liver oil (which contains omega-3 fats and vitamins A and D).5
One of my patients, a twenty-year-old woman who hated seafood and avoided it her whole life, suffered from depression, learning disabilities, obesity, muscle pain, and chronic fatigue. Her blood tests showed severe omega-3 fat deficiency and an overload of inflammatory omega-6 fats. Giving her an oil change with high doses of fish oil (EPA and DHA), she recovered from her depression and cognitive struggles, her pain disappeared, and she lost sixty pounds.
But why the dramatic change with one simple supplement?
Don't make the mistake of thinking all the conditions listed above (or those discussed elsewhere in the book) can magically be cured with a little fish oil. Some may, but most conditions result from imbalance and deficiencies in many of the body's core systems. Nutrient deficiency is only one area where problems are created, and omega-3 fats are only one of those nutrients.
If you are omega-3 fat deficient or B12 deficient, have mercury poisoning or low thyroid function, and eat foods you are allergic to, just fixing the omega-3 fat deficiencies won't cure the whole problem. You have to fix everything.
However, nutrient deficiency is a major contributor to ALL the other problems you may be experiencing, so figuring out what nutrients you are deficient in and fixing that problem is an important step on your path to UltraWellness.
For more information on dyslexia, please see Dr. Hyman's new book, The UltraMind Solution.

Hibbeln JR, Nieminen LR, Lands WE. Increasing homicide rates and linoleic acid consumption among five Western countries, 1961-2000. Lipids. 2004 Dec;39(12):1207-13.
Gesch CB, Hammond SM, Hampson SE, Eves A, Crowder MJ. Influence of supplementary vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids on the antisocial behaviour of young adult prisoners: randomised, placebo-controlled trial. Br. J. Psychiatry. 2002 Jul;181:22-8.
Freeman MP. Omega-3 fatty acids and perinatal depression: a review of the literature and recommendations for future research. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2006 Oct-Nov;75(4-5):291-7.
Richardson AJ. Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in childhood developmental and psychiatric disorders. Lipids. 2004 Dec;39(12):1215-22. Review.
Mary Megson and G proteins.