Have you ever heard of JJ Virgin? She’s a super nutritionist/health coach/fitness expert who wrote a best selling diet book called The VIrgin Diet last year. She is totally my kind of nutritionist: organic, soy-free, gluten-free, healthy fats, good proteins, no artificial colors, flavors, etc…
About the time her book came out, her 16 year old son was hit by a car and sustained life-threatening injuries, including significant traumatic brain injury.
I learned about this event from a Balanced Bites podcast sometime last year. I loved the whole interview, but there was one little gem of information that JJ shared: After consulting with her alternative medicine friends (seriously, her friends are a Who’s Who of natural medicine), JJ slipped a mega dose of fish oil to her son…and he regained speech the next day. Let that sink in. 20 mg fish oil. Regained speech.
I did a little casual Googling, but I couldn’t find much additional information. Then a few weeks ago, there was a little segment on CNN.
Another flurry of research, a response to my query on JJ’s Facebook page, and some slightly obsessive number crunching, I decided it was something we should try.
I found this study that showed kids with ADHD who took a high dose of EPA/DHA fish oil had dramatic improvement in global severity of the condition. This pilot study administered 16.2 GRAMS of 2:1 ratio EPA:DHA fish oil. 10.8g:5.4g. They measured arachidonic acid:EPA ratio in plasma phospholipids.
Improvements were noted by a “blinded” psychiatrist in inattention, hyperactivity, oppositional/defiant behavior and conduct disorder in all the kids who stuck with the oil for 8 weeks. There was a connection between AA:EPA ratio and severity of ADHD.
Another Omega 3 researcher out of Harvard, Dr Andrew Stoll recommends a 7:1 EPA:DHA ratio. He and his wife, also a research psychiastrist out of Harvard, have developed a product called OmegaBrite that delivers 350 mg EPA per cap. To hit 10.8 grams, that would be about 30 caps, but they’re small.
Nordic Naturals also has some other high concentrate EPA products: EPA, which would need 25 capsules; EPA Xtra, 20 caps; EPA Elite, which is EPA only, 13-14 caps.
There are several other brands that might work. www.ourasdkids.com has a lot of high quality options. I’m partial to Nordic Naturals and Pharmax myself. This is the oil JJ Virgin used to heal her son. I’m not entirely clear how she got it all in him, but I suspect a feeding tube then smoothies were involved.
For my own kids, I was concerned about HOW I was going to get that much fish oil into them. I settled on switching from Nordic Natural’s Children’s DHA to Nordic Natural’s Complete Omega Junior. My kids like the strawberry flavor and will voluntarily eat them straight. I let them eat almost all they want. I also picked up some Nordic Natural’s EPA, which was the only high dose EPA on the shelf at my local health food store, and make sure they get at least 1 gel cap per day. It’s been a slow increase.
So…I pulled all this information together a few weeks ago and gradually increased the dose. We had a meeting with Kyle’s teachers today and they mentioned that things had stabilized a bit over the past two weeks. Fingers crossed that it was the oils. (We also started 19-channel LORETA neurofeedback, but have only had 2 sessions. More on that on a later post.)
Ask your doctor for guidance on dosing. I’m certainly going to pursue this. I also did some reading on EPA and mental health specifically and I’m now more convinced than ever that it’s worthwhile.
Fish oil. Get some.