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, & 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 & the development of the eyes' retina
- Omega 3 is required to help establish the developing immune & central nervous system.
- Omega 3 fatty acids also play a role in the length of gestation (preventing premature birth) & 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 & 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 & improve sleep.
- Omega 3 supplementation can also help reduce stress, anxiety and nervousness in children & 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.