Fish oil or omega-3 fatty acid is a dietary supplement responsible for maintaining overall health. Fish oil is extracted from fish tissues of herring, tuna, anchovies, mackerel, and cod liver oil.
Two types of omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA, can be obtained from fish oil, which is what makes it so vital to know what fish oil actually is. The plant-based fatty acid is mainly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
However, ALA is only fatty acid while EPA and DHA contain most of the health benefits. EPA and DHA are responsible for reducing inflammation and improving cognitive health, behavioral factors, and mood.
Although in the recent diet, most omega-3 has been replaced with omega-6 and other fats.
Differences Between Omega-3 And Omega-6 And Other Fats?
There are some distinct characteristics of omega-3 fatty acids, such as,
- Omega 3’s are essential fat required for the development of cell membranes.
- The omega-3 fatty acid has been responsible for reducing inflammation and supporting brain development, and various other benefits on autism.
- The omega-3 fatty acid has been linked with improving mental health conditions in autistic children.
The omega-6 fatty acid has been responsible for contributing to factors such as,
- The omega-6 fats are used for inducing energy.
- Omega-6 cat is pro-inflammatory when consumed in large amounts.
- Sources of omega-6 fatty acids are refined oils, including soybean, mayonnaise, and corn oil.
Other fats and omega-9 fatty acids are characterized as,
- Omega-9 fatty acids are produced in our body, these fatty acids are not required.
- Omega-9 fatty acid sources are olive oil, avocado oil, cashews, and almonds.
- Omega-9 fatty acids also have certain health benefits, including helping to improve metabolic health.
How Diet Is Related To Autism?
Autism or autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of neurodevelopmental conditions related to the faulty development of the nervous system, which results in difficulty in communicating, socializing, interacting, and repetitive behaviors. Autism mostly affects brain development which can easily disrupt mental wellbeing.
Autistic suffer from a range of conditions. They might feel sensitive to light or sound, taste, and touch. Sometimes they have difficulty consuming food because they don’t like the certain smell. In this way, they might have difficulty gaining nutritional value from the food they consume. Making any diet and when to have that meal, very important for that autistic child.
Sometimes certain food can cause irritation in the gut which can result in diarrhea, bloated stomach, and constipation. Food sensitivity is another factor to look after when dealing with autistic people.
In most cases, autistic people would rather prefer carbohydrates and processed foods other than healthy dietary elements of fruits and vegetables. Autistic children can be highly sensitive to the color, flavor, texture, and smell of foods.
Autistic people’s strong food preferences, preference for certain textures & the color of food, and craving for processed foods and fast foods can lead them to malnutrition. The presence of people during mealtime also can hamper their food intake effectively.
This is why a balanced diet is required for autistic people to meet their nutritional requirements and consuming the correct amounts of omega-3 fish oil will be beneficial.
Effect Of Omega-3 Fish Oil on Autism
The deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids in the uterus during pregnancy can lead to autism in children in some cases.
According to the research, autistic children suffer from a lower level of omega-3 fish oil in the body. Mothers with low levels of DHA also pose a chance that their babies will have poor visuals and neural development.
Omega-3 fish oil supplements in autistic children solve various brain-related disorders such as cognition, mood, and behavior. Almost 60% of human brain components are fats which are required for maintaining the essential functionalities of the brain.
As per various studies, omega-3 fish oil facilitates the structural development of the brain, which enhances mental and cognitive abilities.
Various Sources Of Omega-3 Fatty Acid
The animal-based omega-3 fatty acid is extracted from fish tissues and liver oil in most cases. However, apart from animal sources, the omega-3 fatty acid is also present in plants.
Flaxseed extracts can be used as flaxseed oil which is an essential source of omega-3 fatty acid named alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). The alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) has anti-inflammatory factors, which can reduce swelling in case of inflammation due to rheumatoid arthritis.
Flaxseed oil is also used in patients suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure, and high levels of cholesterol. Flaxseed oil is easily digestible and can be taken by mixing it with yogurt as dressings.
Chia seeds contain polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids per serving. Chia seeds can decrease a spike in your blood pressure by slowing down the release of glucose after every full carbohydrate meal. Chia seed is also responsible for increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol which is good for the heart. Chia seeds have multiple nutritional values, along with calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Walnuts contain a high level of omega-3 fatty acid serving 2.5 grams per 1 ounce. The omega-3 fatty acid is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which makes up about 8-14% of the total fat. Among all the other nuts, walnuts have a significant amount of ALA content. ALA has an anti-inflammatory factor and improves the mental well-being of autistic children.
Benefits Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids In Autism
The omega-3 fatty acid is a supplement that can ease attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in autistic children. You can encourage your autistic child to eat a wide range of food by cutting down on food aversions. According to research, taking omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy can promote neural development in the fetus along with enhancing neurogenesis, brain connectivity, good inflammatory response, and cognitive and behavioral improvements.
Mothers who have not taken omega-3 fatty acids during their pregnancy period. They can effectively encourage their children to take omega-3 supplements with age. Omega-3 dietary supplements can effectively improve behavior in autistic children. 27 trials, including 1,028 autistic children, were given omega-3 fatty acid supplements along with vitamins and minerals. According to the result of the trial, children improved social skills, increased communication, and stopped repetitive behaviors.
Autistic children can become light, taste, and smell sensitive. This type of sensitivity leads to autistic children displaying aversions to a particular food. You can face difficulty feeding vegetables or food containing healthy dietary elements to your autistic child. This behavior is common in autistic children.
To ease up this kind of behavior, you can consult an applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapist who can effectively transform your child’s food aversions into positive behaviors.
A behavioral change is an utmost necessity in autistic children. This behavioral change can be facilitated by the use of omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. Omega-3 fatty acid helps in brain development and enhances mood. Your children will be more accepting of therapists and respond positively to behavioral developments