Childhood used to be thought of as a sanctuary – a place of fun and freedom before we face the difficult realities of adulthood.
Not any more – our children are growing up in a highly competitive world where they are presented with constant mental and emotional challenges. At school, where academic expectations are increasingly high, they face frequent tests and exams.
Getting into the best colleges and universities is becoming harder. The global economy is rapidly evolving and the jobs market becoming tougher.
To stand the best chance of success in life, kids need a full of armoury of skills, including problem-solving, lateral thinking and digital literacy. And acquiring these abilities depends in part on what they eat – nutrition can have a profound effect on cognitive power, particularly during the early years while the brain is growing.
However, according to the USDA, 85% of children are not getting nutrients that are essential for optimal brain development. Most are consuming diets rich in sugars, hydrated fasts and salt, and low in fruit, vegetable, fibers and nutritional lipids. The deterioration in children’s diets across the world not only leads to physical problems such as obesity and diabetes, but also affects their cognitive health – undernourishment at an early age can cause a variety of cognitive and behavioral deficits over a person’s life time. The World Health Organization has estimated that every year more than 200 million children under the age of five fail to reach their full cognitive and social potential.
One nutrient that has been proven to help is Phosphatidylserine (PS) which is one of the lipid building blocks of cellular membranes, particularly in neuronal cells.
Healthy PS levels in the brain are associated with efficient signal transduction and other biological processes crucial to the maintenance of normal cognitive function. PS is found in human breast milk and foods such as soy and fish, but the amount we get in our diets has fallen by 50% – more so in some groups, including children.
A series of clinical studies have shown that supplementing children’s diets with PS improves various aspects of memory and learning. Improvements have also been observed for behavioral issues, such as inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Moreover PS has been found to be safe, and to cause no discomfort to children. The US FDA has stated Enzymotec’s PS to be Generally Recognized as Safe, and it is authorized as Novel Food in Europe, as well as being approved in China, Australia, and other countries.
Parents naturally want to give their children every possible opportunity. They have a limited set of tools with which to do so, but they know that one area of their children’s life they can influence is nutrition. And as awareness grows that supplements can safely support children’s cognitive development, demand for nutrients such as PS will grow. As the only PS supplier providing custom-tailored and next generation PS grades, Enzymotec is proud to be part of the drive to equip our kids with all the tools they need to thrive in a demanding world.