nutrition

Learning Disabilities

By Dr Peter Eng

GP, FACNEM, Nutritional Medicine

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A Learning Disability is a degree of difficulty that a child may face when trying to understand, process or remember information. It is also apparent in some Children who have difficulty expressing themselves. According to Learning Difficulties Australia, approximately 4% of Australian students have a learning disability. There are many different types of learning disabilities, ranging from mild to severe. The most common form of learning disability affects reading and spelling. Having a learning disability does not mean your child is not intelligent. Also, problems with learning do not necessarily mean your child has a learning disability. To date there has been no definitive cause found for learning disability. Food and additive allergies, environmental toxicity, dietary deficiencies in proteins, excesses in simple sugars, mineral imbalances and deficiencies in fatty acids and B Vitamins can all contribute to Learning Disabilities.

nutrition factors

It is important to use the correct dose of any nutrient, especially in children. Be sure to consult with a skilled naturopath or integrative physician so that you do not over-supplement and be sure to list any supplements (along with medications) in the child’s medical records. A child with a LEARNING DISABILITY may have marginal deficiencies in the following:

  • A Children's MultiVitamin

    All kids with learning disabilities should take a standard children’s Vitamin once daily.

  • B Vitamins

    B-complex vitamins reduce hyperactivity symptoms and increase serotonin in children with learning disability, resulting in calmer, happier children. Vitamin B6: Symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency include irritability, short attention spans and short term memory loss.  Vitamin B12: deficiency produces some ADHD-like symptoms such as confusion and memory loss. 

  • Vitamin C

    Studies have shown vitamin C to improve cognition and alertness.  Vitamin C is heavily concentrated in the brain and crucial to brain function.

  • Antioxidants

    People under a lot of stress, like kids with LEARNING DISABILITIES, have particularly high needs for antioxidants, to help support their body in dealing with the effects of stress.

  • Magnesium

    Magnesium deficiency has long been thought to play a significant role in LEARNING DISABILITIES. Low magnesium and stress reinforce each other:  Magnesium is deficient in Australian soil. Magnesium is very calming, and has been called the “anti-stress” mineral. Examples of good supplement providers include: ‘Fibroplex for Children’ (made by Metagenics) or “Kids Plus” by Nutrition Care.

  • Thiamine

    Children with LEARNING DISABILITIES may have a Thyamine deficiency. See an Accredited Doctor from Niim or ACNEM to test for Thiamine Levels.

  • Iodine

    Iodine levels in Australia are low. This significantly affects IQ. Children with LEARNING DISABILITIES may have an iodine deficiency as this is associated with cognitive impairment, poor motivation to achive and defective visual perception and integrative motor ability.

  • Iron

    Children with Iron deficiency / anemia have lower mental and motor development skills. Please have your practitioner measure your child's iron levels.  Iron supplementation is inappropriate unless iron levels are found.  Iron supplementation should be monitored with regular testing. 

  • Zinc

    Children with Zinc definciencies are irritable, tearful and sullen and are prone to learning disabilities. Be sure to consult with a skilled naturopath or integrative physician so that you do not over-supplement.

  • Omega-3 fatty Acids (EFA's)

    Children with low levels may correlate with learning disabilities . Essential Fatty Acids have been found to improve conduct and attention problems. Examples of good sources of omega-3s include Sardines and Wild Salmon, walnuts (oil) and flaxseeds (oil). Try a child supplement of Omega-3’s for Kids by Metagenics – they have a peppermint flavored one! They recommend Children 1-4 years: Take 2.5ml, Children 5-12 years take 5ml

Tips

  • Rule out food sensitivity
  • Several reports have noted improvements in allergies and asthma following elimination of food and/or food additives.
  • Do an IgG 93 Food Sensitivity Profile. You need to see a doctor who is from NIIM or a member of ACNEM. https://www.acnem.org
  • Skin tests and blood allergen specific IgE (RAST) tests are reliable and scientifically validated allergy tests. Together with a medical history and examination these tests can help your doctor define the cause of your allergies and are rebated by Medicare in Australia
  • http://www.annclinlabsci.org/content/37/1/96.full
Reviewed by Dr Peter Eng 3 June 2015 references
  • current version

    Dr Peter Eng
  • PEER REVIEWER

    Dr Peter Eng
  • document id

    140115
  • next review

    26.08.2017

This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

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Learning Disabilities

nutrition

A Learning Disability is a degree of difficulty that a child may face when trying to understand, process or remember information. It is also apparent in some Children who have difficulty expressing themselves. According to Learning Difficulties Australia, approximately 4% of Australian students have a learning disability. There are many different types of learning disabilities, ranging from mild to severe. The most common form of learning disability affects reading and spelling. Having a learning disability does not mean your child is not intelligent. Also, problems with learning do not necessarily mean your child has a learning disability. To date there has been no definitive cause found for learning disability. Food and additive allergies, environmental toxicity, dietary deficiencies in proteins, excesses in simple sugars, mineral imbalances and deficiencies in fatty acids and B Vitamins can all contribute to Learning Disabilities.

Reviewed by Evelyn Lewin 3 June 2015
references
  • current version

    Dr Peter Eng
  • PEER REVIEWER

    Dr Peter Eng
  • document id

    140115
  • next review

    26.08.2017

This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

make a comment

0 comments

top 10 nutrients

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