Kid's Health

Kid’s Core Supplements: Omega-3 Fats

Disclaimer: The following information has not been approved by the FDA. This information should not be interpreted as medical advice and is not a substitute for a visit with a medical care professional. Always speak to your doctor about any health concerns. 

Fifteen years ago the World Health Organization ranked the health care systems of the 191 countries that make up the organization. The United States ranked 37th. This seems very strange as the US is also ranked first in health care expenditure. According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization each year an estimated 15,780 children will be diagnosed with cancer.

It may seem strange that most people don’t think of children needing supplements, but children are often much more nutritionally deficient than their parents. Do you have picky eaters? Many families are eating more processed foods than ever before and, although food is very abundant in our country, it doesn’t mean that we are making good food choices.

It seems the foundations of health are cracking in the US and children, who used to be considered mostly spared from serious illness, are facing a health crisis. The Healthy Place team believes that there are four Kid’s Core Supplements that support the health of children. They are multi-vitamins, omega-3 fats, vitamin D, and probiotics. Read on to discover the health benefits of omega-3 fats for children.

What Are Omega-3’s?

Omega-3 fatty acids are a form of essential fatty acids. They that cannot be made by the body and must be obtained from food. They are called “essential” because our bodies can’t make them and they are essential for life.

Every cell in the body needs essential fatty acids. Research has show that they are especially critical for normal brain development in fetuses and young children.

Whats the Problem?

Most  American families do not include adequate amounts of omega-3s in their diets. Another complication is that most consume omega-6 fats in excess amounts. Omega-6 fats are also an essential fatty acid, but they need to be consumed in an approximate ratio of 1:1 with omega-3 fats. Unfortunately most Americans are consuming these omega-6/omega-3 oils in a ratio of 20:1!

This imbalance is creating a health crisis and scientists have linked these disproportionate numbers with inflammatory diseases, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, premature aging, and some forms of cancer. Are you thinking that those are adult diseases? Pediatricians are now diagnosing children with conditions and diseases that were previously only seen in adults.

Because of the abundance of omega-6 fats and the lack of omega-3 fats in our culture it is unlikely your children are eating these fats in healthy proportions.

Research Supported

A study done by researchers at the University of Oxford found “that a child’s blood levels of long-chain Omega-3 DHA can significantly predict how well he or she is able to concentrate and learn”.

They also found that these higher levels were associated with increased reading ability and memory, and these children also had fewer behavior problems reported by the teachers and parents. The study revealed that many children in the UK are not eating a diet with adequate Omega-3 intake. Many of the children had such low blood levels that, if adults, they would be considered high risk for heart disease.

This same team has done earlier research showing benefits of Omega-3 supplementation for children with ADHD, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia and related conditions. Other studies have backed up the research done in the UK, and also found that supplementing with omega-3 oils in depressed 6-12 year olds improved their depression significantly.

How Omega-3s Support Health

Because every cell in the body needs essential fatty acids it seems obvious that the entire body is supported by optimum levels of these fats. But there are also specific benefits and they include:

  • Gut Health
  • Immune Health
  • Heart and Circulatory Health
  • Cell Health
  • Nervous System Health
  • Eye Health
  • Brain and Mood Health
  • Skin Health

Food Sources

It requires some real dedication to get your children to eat these important nutrients. But remember that while you increase omega-3 consumption you also need to decrease omega-6 consumption. You are are looking for a 1:1 ratio.

Omega-6 food sources common to the Western diet are cereals, whole grain breads, margarine, and vegetable oils such as safflower, corn, and cottonseed, and soybean oils. Because soybean oil is used so extensively in processed foods, it is estimated that 20 percent of the calories in the American diet come from this single source.

The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are oily cold water fish such as tuna, salmon, trout, herring, sardines, bass, and mackerel. It is recommended that you eat at least two servings of these fish per week. There are some omega-3s present in dark leafy green vegetables, flaxseed oil, nuts, and beans but the body’s enzymes have to convert them to EPA and DHA, the two omega-3 fats most easily utilized by the body. This extra step can be difficult for a body that isn’t working efficiently.

Supplementation

There are omega-3 supplements that are specific to the needs of children. Perhaps some of you have heard stories about the fishy burps and after-taste that fish oils can cause. This challenge has been overcome and there are options that will not cause your children to rebel! My grandchildren actually argue about who gets their special treat of “purple stuff” first.

The team at The Healthy Place works hard to answer questions and provide information to give you the knowledge to make wise decisions for you and your family. They know nutrition and want to help you “Find Your Healthy Place”!

Contact us or stop in at our store, located in Madison, Wisconsin. A member of our team can provide recommendations that work for your family.

Sources

www.omegascienceinstitute.org.

http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/09/14/omega-3-strongly-linked-to-behavior-learning-in-children/59556.html

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/who-needs-omega-3s

www.omega-3.se/en/children.html


Disclaimer: All information and recommendations given on this site, in email correspondence, newsletters or other materials provided by The Healthy Place is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice nor be viewed as a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a healthcare provider. Consult a licensed healthcare practitioner before modifying, stopping, or starting the use of any medications, health programs, diets, and/or supplements, as well as regarding any health concerns you may have. Our statements and information have not been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration. As with any health-related program, product, or service, your risks and results may vary. We expressly disclaim responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or damage caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the information provided to you here.”


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