Nutrition is important in your child’s intelligence
Nutrition plays a major role in your child’s ability to concentrate, learn and achieve. Fast growing bodies need all the nutrition they can get. Even if your child already enjoys a good diet, they may still stand to benefit from improving their nutrient intake as many children are often lacking in some (or many) nutrients. These nutrients often include acetyl l-carnitine, fish oil, bacopa, folic acid and zinc. Each plays a crucial role in benefiting your child’s brain function.
Nutrition plays a major role in your child’s ability to concentrate, learn and achieve. Fast growing bodies need all the nutrients they can get. Even if your child already enjoys a good diet, they may still stand to benefit from improving their nutrient intake as children are often lacking in some (or many) these nutrients. Below are some nutrients that may be of benefit to your child.
A number of studies have shown a positive effect of acetyl l-carnitine (also known as acetyl levocarnitine or ALC) on cerebral blood flow and metabolism in the brain. In randomised, placebo controlled studies, ALC has been shown to enhance cerebral blood flow , as well as improve memory and response time.  Cognition is often affected in conditions of metabolic imbalance; ALC has also been found to improve this condition. [3-5]
Fish oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA is essential to brain development, whereas EPA appears to benefit behavior and mood. DHA and EPA up-regulate gene expression that is associated with neurogenesis, neurotransmission and connectivity. Endothelial nitric oxide (eNO) production is increased, enhancing brain acetylcholine levels, and suppressing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Both of these fatty acids generate neuroprotective metabolites. 
The findings from one study revealed that children at 4 years of age, who were born to mothers who had taken fish oil during pregnancy and lactation had better cognitive abilities.  In double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled studies, DHA and EPA combinations have been shown to benefit attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD),  as well as mediating significant improvements in reading, spelling and behavior in children 5-12 years of age after 3 months of supplementation.  In light of this evidence, fatty acid supplementation may offer a safe and efficacious treatment option for children with educational and behavioral problems.
Folic acid is known to benefit neural health and development. It is relatively common knowledge that the risk of having a foetus affected with neural tube defects is reduced by maternal folic acid supplementation.  Because of the risk of having an unplanned pregnancy is quite high, obstetricians/gynecologists and urologists now advise young women to improve their lifestyle  with the inclusion of folic acid supplementation; advice which is supported by the World Health Organization.
These benefits are also seen in children and adults. Low blood folate and associated raised homocysteine concentrations are linked to poor cognitive function. Not surprisingly, folic acid supplementation has been found to improve cognitive function. These effects may be related to folic acid’s ability enhance plasma DHA and EPA. DHA and EPA have been found to be beneficial in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,  collectively suggesting that the combination of DHA, EPA and folic acid may improve cognitive function.
The effects of impaired nutritional status during one’s childhood may have long-standing consequences for children’s health and performance well into their adult years. Malnourished children have been shown to have decreased physical abilities and endurance, and poorer cognitive function and school performance.
Zinc deficiency is common, and lower levels are associated with poorer cognitive performance. Behavioral problems, including attention deficits, have also been associated with food insufficiency and malnutrition.  Low levels of zinc are also evident in children with behavioural disorders, including those with symptoms associated with ADHD. 
It has been suggested that bacopa may improve higher order cognitive processes such as learning and memory.  In a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, independent-group study, 300mg bacopa daily was shown to improve the speed of visual information processing, learning rate, memory consolidation and anxiety relative to placebo following 12 weeks of supplementation.
Bacopa’s neuroprotective properties have also been revealed. Bacopa and folic acid in combination have been used to improve cognitive functions (including memory), anxiety and depression. 
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- Corbucci GG, Menichetti A, Cogliatti A, Nicoli P, Arduini A, Damonti W, Marchionni A, Calvani M: Metabolic aspects of acute cerebral hypoxia during extracorporeal circulation and their modification induced by acetyl-carnitine treatment. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1992, 12(2):89-98.
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