Omega-3 fatty acids are an important component in your little one's diet. These essential fats play a significant role in the growth and development of children hence are especially important for a holistic health approach. Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the health and wellness of your kids in various ways.
However, we as parents have little awareness of how these Omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial for our children and how they are important in several functions in the body.
Well, here we are to take a deep dive into the several benefits of Omega 3 and the recommended supplements for your kids.
What is Omega-3?
Studies have shown that Omega-3 fatty acids are required all throughout life. Omega-3 fatty acids work right from fetal development, and later support the heart and brain health and also keeps a check on the immunity.
They’re called essential fatty acids because your body cannot make them on its own and they need to be either obtained from food or supplements
There are three main types of fatty acids and they are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
ALA is present in a variety of plant foods, this includes vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and certain vegetables. Yet, it isn’t active in the body, and it's our body that only converts it into active forms, the active forms are DHA and EPA, in very small amounts
EPA and DHA are naturally found in fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna, and are also in many Omega-3 Supplements. Apart from these, there are many types of Omega-3 supplements that exist, some of the most common are fish oil, Krill Oil, and algae oil.
Benefits of Omega-3 for Kids
There are several benefits of Omega-3, here are 6 reasons why you should get your kids the power of Omega-3:
Supports Brain Growth and Functions
The brain grows at its fastest rate from birth up until about 2 years old, though brain development continues throughout childhood and adolescence. Over 60% of the brain is made up of fat and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and makes up around 10-15% of this. DHA is an essential fatty acid and is necessary for the development of the sensory, perceptual, cognitive, and motor neural (nerve) systems during the brain growth spurt. The DHA-rich parts of the brain are thought to be responsible for cognitive functions like planning, problem- solving, and attention to focus.
Studies have shown that DHA improved school performance, including learning ability, reading, and spelling amongst children.
About 4% of children under age 18 suffer from sleep disturbances. Therefore a lot of parents seek ways and solutions for their children’s good night’s sleep. Studies have shown that poor sleep is significantly associated with lower blood levels of DHA, it also shows that DHA supplementations led to a reduction in the number of sleep time disturbances, as well as more sleep per night on average.
ADHA is Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurological disorder. Due to the severe side effects and intolerance of standard treatment, there has been an increasing awareness and acceptance of alternative treatments. Research shows that lower levels of omega-3 are found in people compared to those without ADHD. An article reviewed a range of studies carried out between 2000 and 2015 and though sometimes inconsistent, overall, showed that there is evidence that omega-3 can benefit those with ADHD.
Reduces respiratory illness and diarrhoea in Infants
Omega-3 fatty acids support immunity and may help to reduce the incidences of common infant illnesses. A study shows that the incidence of respiratory illness such as bronchitis, bronchiolitis and cough with diarrhoea, reduces with infants fed on supplemented formula with Omega-3. It shows that the number of episodes of respiratory illness and diarrhoea in the first 12 months of life was significantly reduced in the infants fed with DHA-enriched formula.
Omega-3 is important and contributes in maintaining your child's overall health and wellbeing. Omega-3s are especially beneficial for kids’ brain and heart health. Adding Omega-3 rich food can help in meeting their daily needs. Opting for supplements should be recommended by your healthcare provider. Providing plenty of foods high in Omega-3s can help ensure that your child is meeting their daily needs. If you opt for Omega-3 supplements, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional to ensure proper dosage.