In the 1970s and 1980s, hopes were raised that megadoses of vitamins and minerals would boost intelligence in children with Down's syndrome, but rigorous studies have shown these doses lead neither to higher intelligence nor to better health. In addition, there is anxiety about possible side effects, particularly from the fat-soluble vitamins.
As more has been learned about the genes on chromosome 21, interest has shifted to targeted nutritional intervention aimed at correcting the metabolic anomalies that are common in Down's syndrome due to genetic overexpression, with the emphasis on nutrients to maintain health and prevent disease. Targeted nutritional supplementation with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, digestive enzymes, and essential fatty acids is still controversial. Clinicians have reported differences between children treated and not treated in health, growth, and cognitive and speech functions, and extensive double-blind studies are planned.
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