Sunday, April 26, 2009

Brain-Building Nutrition: How Dietary Fats and Oils Affect Mental, Physical, and Emotional Intelligence

I just finished reading a book by Michael A Schmidt, PhD on the importance of dietary fats and oils and our intelligence. I thought it was a good read covering the different fats and oils that we consume and how they affect our brain.

The book includes a small section on cerebral palsy. The author writes: "Looking carefully at the fatty acid status of any child with cerebral palsy seems to be an important step in fostering recovery. Supplementation with fatty acids may allow slow restoration of some functions and may lead to an improved quality of life."

Without giving away too much of the book, here are some strategies for healing with fats and oils:
  1. Determine the Ideal Omega-3
  2. Balance Omega-6 and Omega-3
  3. Keep Your Carbohydrates Balanced
  4. Eliminate Trans Fatty Acids
  5. Eat Brightly Colored Fruits and Vegetables
  6. Remember Important Brain Minerals
  7. Use Spices That Help to Balance the Messengers and Protect the Brain
  8. Include Mitochondrial Nutrients
  9. Enrich with the Sulfur-Bearing Nutrients
  10. Get Adequate Methyl Donors
  11. Get Enough Sleep
  12. Exercise

I highly recommend reading this book to better understand the nutritional importance and brain benefits of the right balance of fats and oils.

Brain-Building Nutrition: How Dietary Fats and Oils Affect Mental, Physical, and Emotional Intelligence


  1. I have a son who has CP. We recently started giving him a very good liquid vitamin B-complex which includes choline and inositol. We have noticed a very good cognitive improvement as a result of this. We have also recently started giving him Soy Lecithin granules which is rich in phosphatidylcholine. It's still too early to tell how the Lecithin is working out. He also takes Fish oil, Vitamin D3, Centrum kids multi-vitamin, liquid Calcium and magnesium with vitamin D.

    I have been doing quite a bit of research and will share as I go along.

    I have found a number of references to the use of inositol in cerebral palsy, as well as OCD and anxiety.

    Here is a link to a presentation discussing the importance of choline (from eggs) and tryptophan (from bananas), on page 13, as well as some other interesting information.

    Did you find the HBOT therapy effective and if so, were the effects lingering or did they diminish over time, as was observed in some studies.

    Would you please expand on some of the items above, specifically numbers 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. I am going to get the book, but am eager to find out a little more about the above immediately.

  2. Thanks for the comment! Which brand of liquid B-complex are you giving your son?

    We found HBOT helpful for our son. The most obvious improvements were improvements in his vision and reduced spasticity, most obvious during his first 40 dives. We did another 40 dives 6 months after the first set, and have a portable chamber at home to continue treatments.

    6.Remember Important Brain Minerals
    -according to the text, some key brain minerals are magnesium, zinc, chromium, potassium and selenium.

    7.Use Spices That Help to Balance the Messengers and Protect the Brain
    -some of the spices include: ginger, rosemary, onion, oregano, turmeric

    8.Include Mitochondrial Nutrients
    -such as CoQ10, vitamin C, Vitamin E, N-acetyl-L-carnitine

    9.Enrich with the Sulfur-Bearing Nutrients
    -like Taurine, N-acetylcysteine (NAC)

    10.Get Adequate Methyl Donors
    -riboflavin, choline, betaine, B6, B12, folic acid

  3. My son had done some labs prescribed by his neurologist over a year ago that indicated a number of Organic acids were out of range. After doing some research I found that these organic acid imbalances were due to nutritional deficiencies.

    We are using “Twinlab Liquid Super B-Complex”. Here is a link to it
    This is an adult formula, so we had to dose it by weight. My son is 34 pounds and we are giving him 1ml twice a day. The adult dosage is 5ml. We are also giving him a liquid sublingual B12 methylcobalamin. The adult dosage is approximately 23 drops, we are giving him 4 drops once a day in the morning. As I mentioned earlier, we are giving him Soy Lecithin granules which is rich in phosphatidylcholine and inositol – ¼ tsp twice a day (breakfast and lunch). He also takes Carlson’s for Kids Fish oil ¼ tsp twice a day, Vitamin D3 1000iu, Centrum kids multi-vitamin, Lifetime liquid Calcium and magnesium with vitamin D - 1 tsp twice a day. At around the same time we started the Soy Lecithin granules, we also started N-acetylcysteine 100mg with 500mg vitamin C and 250mg bioflavanoids twice a day. We also started Alpha-Lipoic-Acid 100mg once a day.

    By the grace of God, the results were a pleasant surprise. Prior to supplementation, my son seemed not as energetic as a young 3 ½ year old child should be (he would often ask to sleep, which is unusual for a child). As a result of his CP, he is hyper-tonic, mostly in his legs. He also was not a good eater. After being on the supplements for a while, his energy is very good. His focus and learning improved significantly. Best of all his tone has improved tremendously. We find very little tightness, if any, at this time when we stretch him, whereas before the tightness was evident. And he now has a good appetite.

    I found this company that does tests that identifies nutritional deficiencies based on organic acid imbalances. This is a sample report they have:

    We have since visited my sons neurologist and he has referred us to a Metabolic Specialist who would be able to identify any other possible nutritional deficiencies based on lab testing.

    I hope this helps you in some way.

  4. This is an edit of my post above. The Alpha-Lipoic-Acid is 50mg once a day.

  5. Other things I have researched seem to indicate that improvement in spasticity is correlated with improved brain function. Here is a study I came across that was conducted in Texas where they treated children with Cerebral Palsy using a drug called Modafinil. Modafinil is a drug used to treat narcolepsy. It is also used by people needing top mental performance during long working hours with sleep deprivation, such as the military and students. It is not a stimulant, but works through a different mechanism. Modafinil does not affect sleep, and people on Modafinil can go to sleep without any problems while taking the drug.

    This is not something that I would consider at this time, especially since more conservative treatments are working, but I thought you might like to know about it.
    Here is the study:

    Another study also showed an improvement in spasticuty using a drug called Piracetam. Piracetam does interfere with sleep quality if the dosage is too high. I think Modafinil would be a better choice if one had to use something like this. Here is the study:

    I will post anything else I find helpful to you as I find them. Please let me know of anything new you find as well that may be helpful.