Fish oil is a nutrient-rich oil extracted from the tissues of oily fishes like herring, anchovies, tuna, and mackerel. This oil contains omega-3 fatty acids(1): EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which play a crucial role in the development of children. Furthermore, fish oil offers several health benefits like improving immunity, heart health, and brain function.
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids because humans cannot naturally produce them; we need to obtain them from our food sources.
Quick Facts About Fish Oil
Fish Oil for Kids – How It Works?
Most of the benefits of fish oil lie in its omega-3 content. Omega-3 fatty acids are molecules that provide the cells in our bodies with the necessary fat and oils, preventing blood clots and inflammation of the cell.
Various studies have proven that fish oil is an essential supplement for children which should be included in their day to day life. In particular, the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA can enhance the production of serotonin, making them indispensable nutrients for children’s physical and cognitive development. Fish oil also promotes normal cell function throughout the body.
Studies suggest many other benefits of using Fish Oil for kids.
1. Boosts Memory
Fish oil also improves immunity and respiratory wellness, along with improved attention and memory.
2. Treats Symptoms of ADHD
Fish Oil for Kids with ADHD is reported to be effective, as it helps overcome lapse of concentration. Further, it is indicated(2) that omega-3 fatty acids improved memory, learning impulsivity, and hyperactivity in ADHD kids.
[ Read: Proven Health Benefits of Fish Oil ]
3. Decreases Symptoms of Asthma
Another study conducted on children has shown that omega-3 fatty acid supplements help in decreasing the symptoms of asthma(3).
[Read: Fish Oil for Arthritis Treatment]
4. Improves Sleep Quality
It has also been proven to reduce sleep interruptions and improve sleep quality in children.
Sources of Fish Oil
You can consume fish oil and omega 3-rich foods as these
- Oily fishes like salmon, mackerel, herring, sardine, and anchovies are some of the best sources of omega-3 for kids.
- Fish oil is also derived from the liver of other types of fish, known as cod liver oil.
- Other fishes like catfish, scallops, shrimps, tuna, which have lower levels of DHA and EPA as compared to oily fishes.
- For vegetarians and children who are picky about their food, you can opt for doctor prescribed fish oil supplement for kids. There are many types of fish oil supplements available in the market. Some of the most common ones are cod liver oil and krill oil.
Fish Oil Dosage for Children
There is no set daily omega-3 dosage for children. A child’s requirement of omega-3 acids depends on his/her diet and well-being.
- If your child likes to eat fish, consuming two servings of fatty fish per week is enough.
- If you prefer to opt for a supplement instead, the recommendation of EPA and DHA levels has to be decided by a medical practitioner.
How Much Is Fish Oil Safe to Consume?
Fish oil is a beneficial health supplement, but it comes with its own set of side effects in case of an overdose. The presence of mercury in fish and fish oil supplements is one of the biggest reasons for concern. You should talk to your GP/pediatrician to understand how much fish will be beneficial for children and which fish to choose.
For example, fishes like albacore tuna have a high content of mercury, and they should not be given more than once a week to children. Similarly, your pediatrician should be able to help you with the dosage and brand of fish oil supplements that are safer.
Science has been churning out enough evidence that fish oil(4) for kids is beneficial. But this nutrient-rich oil comes with its own share of woes, which can only be handled with the guidance of a medical practitioner. Do not give fish oil supplements to your child without consulting one.
Overdosing on fish oil can have hazardous consequences, so supervise your child’s fish oil intake. Tread with caution even with over-the-counter supplements.
1. Can You Take Fish Oil Every Day?
Fish oil can be consumed every day in the recommended doses.
2. Is Shrimp High in Omega 3?
Yes, shrimp is high in omega-3. It can be a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and omega 6 for children.
3. Do Cashews Have Omega 3?
Yes, cashews have the highest omega-3 acid content amongst all the nuts/dry fruits.
4. Which Vegetables Are High in Omega 3?
Vegetables like spinach, sprouts, and purslane are high in omega-3.
5. Which Fruits Are High in Omega 3?
Mango, blueberry, avocado, honeydew melon, and raspberry are rich in omega-3.