Understanding the role of Omega 3 in Children

You most likely have heard about the benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Omega 3 is considered essential because your body does not make Omega 3 (DHA and EPA). Many of us are likely consuming Omega three either through diet (by eating ocean wild-caught fish) or through supplementation. But when it comes to giving Omega 3 supplements to our children, we put the brakes on. It makes sense as there is confusing information on the merits of providing children Omega 3 and just how old should they be before you supplement their diets?

But science is catching up, and there is a very distinct understanding to ensure a healthy brain and all its functions requirements for this vital nutrient is on the increase. The need for Omega 3 and children begins much earlier than you may realize. It starts before birth, while the fetus is growing. 

  • Omega 3 fatty acids are the critical building blocks of fetal brain development and the development of the eyes' retina. 
  • Omega 3 is required to help establish the developing immune and central nervous system.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids also play a role in the length of gestation (preventing premature birth) and preventing depression in moms after birth. 
  • During pregnancy, the baby's brain's growth begins to accelerate during the second half of pregnancy. This brain development rate remains high during the first year of your child's life and continues to grow for several years. 
  • Omega 3 supplementation for your child is also obtained through breast milk, so it becomes even more critical for the mother to consume fresh ocean fish or supplement with Omegas. 
  • As your child grows, Omega 3 fatty acids continue to help improve behaviour and improve sleep. 
  • Omega 3 supplementation can also help reduce stress, anxiety and nervousness in children and reduce the symptoms of ADHD, which is a neurodevelopment disorder.
  • Omega 3 supplementation in young children also shows remarkable improvement in reducing the incidence of children's allergies and respiratory illnesses.

The Best Omega Foods 

Fish Based - wild salmon, black cod, halibut, trout, anchovy, sardines, mackerel and herring

Food-Based- hemp hearts, hempseed, chia seeds, chia seed oil, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, walnuts, walnut oil, pumpkin seed, pumpkin seed butter and natto. 

When Should You Start Your Child on Omega 3 Supplements? 

If you are pregnant and are concerned about consuming too much fish, considering taking an Omega 3 supplement during your pregnancy, continue to take your Omega 3 supplement after childbirth, especially if you are breastfeeding. Your baby is using your reserves for their growth. If you are not breastfeeding your child, consider a good quality liquid Omega 3 (0-3 years) added to their formula. 

Whether your toddler requires Omega 3 supplementation depends on their consumption of Ocean Wise Wild Caught Fish(2-3 servings a week). A serving size is equal to the size of a deck of cards. 

The right Omega 3 supplements are high in EPA and DHA. Look for brands such as Sealicious, Genuine Health Omega 3 for Kids, Aqua Omega, Herbaland and many more, that are all kid-friendly and taste great. 

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3046737/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23877090

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28741625

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5537898/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22805468

https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD012505.pub2/full?highlightAbstract=preterm%7Coverview%7Cbirth