URGENT UPDATE ON OMEGA-3 FATS AND KIDS
Over the past week, I read several important study findings looking at omega 3 fats in children, and all of them really grabbed my attention. Omega 3 fats are “essential” fats that play a critical role in brain, cardiovascular, and immune health. Here are the study highlights. I hope they will grab your attention too!
- In the first study to carefully evaluate the intakes of omega 3 fats in a large, representative sample of young American children, investigators found intakes surprisingly low and only a fraction of what is typically consumed by young children in other countries. Fish is the best source of these all-important fats, and only 54 percent of the children surveyed ate at least one serving of fish in the previous month. Experts generally agree that it takes at least two servings of fish a week to reach “reasonable intakes” of the vital omega 3 fats. (1)
- In an Oxford University study involving 493 school age children, scientist found that blood levels of the omega 3 fat, DHA (the specific omega 3 fat involved in brain structure and function), significantly predicted how well they were able to concentrate and learn. Higher levels were associated with superior memory and reading as well as less behavioral problems and vice versa. Sadly, most of the children had very low blood levels, which corresponded to their very low intakes of fish. (9 out of 10 kids ate fish less than twice a week and 1 in 10 never ate fishL) (2)
- In a second report from OxfordUniversity scientists, researchers noted a robust association between children’s sleep quality and duration and their blood levels of the omega 3 fat, DHA. As a follow up to this study, the same researchers performed a clinical trial supplementing a group of children’s diets with algae-based DHA supplements and then carefully monitoring their sleep patterns. Relative to the placebo group, kids who took the DHA supplements had significantly improved measures of both sleep quality and sleep duration. The lead investigator was “struck by the size and the scale of the sleep improvement.” (3)
- In a lab study involving young rats, scientists found that supplementing the rat diets with omega 3 fats from conception (via the Mother’s diets) and throughout youth resulted in substantial improvements in ADHD-related behaviors along with alterations in brain biochemistry to correlate with these behavioral benefits. (4)
Click here to see my best advice for being sure that your child receives optimal amounts of the essential omega 3 fats.