GUILDFORD, UNITED KINGDOM. Dyslexia is a fairly common condition which involves difficulties in learning to read and write, mirror reversals of letters and words, and poor short-term memory. Dyslexia is closely related to dyspraxia (problems with coordination and muscle control) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is estimated that about 10% of the populations of the United States and the United Kingdom suffer from dyslexia and 4% are severely affected. There was a 3-fold increase in the prevalence of learning disorders in the USA over the period 1976 to 1993 and 80% of the new cases involved dyslexia.
Dr. Jacqueline Stordy of the University of Surrey believes that dyslexia, dyspraxia, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder have one common denominator - a deficiency of long-chain fatty acids. She points to a study which found improved dark adaptation (a problem among dyslexics) after supplementation with 480 mg/day of docosahexaenoic acid (a main constituent in fish oils) for a month. Another study involving 15 dyspractic children found that supplementation with a proprietary mixture of tuna oil, evening primrose oil, thyme oil, and vitamin E for 4 months markedly improved their motor skills. The mixture provided 480 mg of docosahexaenoic acid, 35 mg of arachidonic acid, 96 mg of alpha-linolenic acid, 80 mg of vitamin E, and 24 mg of thyme oil daily. Dr. Stordy concludes that long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplements may benefit children with dyslexia, dyspraxia, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and notes that large, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies are already underway to verify this hypothesis. Additionally, other studies have revealed the benefits of fish oil consumption on cognitive function.
Stordy, B. Jacqueline. Dark adaptation, motor skills, docosahexaenoic acid, and dyslexia. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 71 (suppl), January 2000, pp. 323S-26S