OMEGA-3 FOR KIDS: BIG BENEFIT OR BIG NO-NO?
When it comes to the health and safety of children, you can never be too sure whether or not that next big dietary supplement for kids is actually delivering on its promise or is making your kids worse. There are many products out there that claim that they can enhance a child’s growth, or increase their appetite, or generally just keep them healthy. One of the supplements available out there, and has gained popularity in the recent years, is Omega-3. Sure it’s good for the heart and has a lot of benefits going for it, but the target market of these campaign ads are usually fully grown adults – what about infants, toddlers and children below the age of 18? Let’s take a closer look at what Omega-3 really is, how it affects our bodies, and if it really is safe for kids to take.
We all know that a child’s needs — especially infants — are very different from an adult’s. While an adult might need things such as additional iron in their blood, children might suffer from the additional dose of iron. Children need more of calcium for strong bones, whey for brain and growth development, and antioxidants that clean their bodies’ cells and prevent deterioration at an early age. Childhood is actually the perfect time to start introducing these additional vitamins and minerals in their bodies as this is the time they will absorb a lot of these to further the development of their bodies, and omega-3 is one of the top nutrients that a child should have.
What then, exactly, are the benefits of omega-3 for kids? The nutrient is the key to provide sustenance and development for one single important organ: the brain. The brain is actually made up of 60% fat, and the two main types of fat present in the brain are Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – two of the main “good” fat types that you get when omega-3 is broken down by the body. Did you know that half of all that 60% fat is DHA? So imagine the growth potential of children when the nutrients are made readily available for them.
When giving omega-3 to children, you should remember to check the supplements you’re getting. Don’t buy into the hype of some brands that advertise themselves as “specifically for kids,” since there is no such thing; these are just marketing strategies to get you believing these were specially formulated for children. Instead, look for dietary supplements that are pharmaceutical grade so that you can be assured that the vitamins were prepared properly and safely.
In closing, omega-3 for kids is a very good idea, given that you choose your supplements carefully. Omega-3 helps develop your child’s brain, especially when given at the critical stages of development, but should be given in moderation and at the recommended doses. Look for those that were produced by reliable brand names that can assure you of the quality of their medicines. Also, as with all medicines, be sure to consult with your child’s doctor before giving any supplements or vitamins of any kind.