The Benefits of Fish Oil for Children
Many people have heard of the benefits of supplementing their diets with fish oil. What many people don't know, however, is that fish oil can be good for children as well. The Omega 3s in fish oil can aid in problems very specific to children, as long as dosing, side effects, etc are taken into consideration.
What Are the Benefits of Fish Oil in Children?
One of the most recently discovered benefits is the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. One of the studies done found that children with an abnormally low amount of certain essential fatty acid, like those found in fish oil, had ADHD, as well as other behavioral problems, including tantrums and problems with sleeping.
Childhood asthma is another condition that has been reduced by taking fish oil, particularly bronchial asthma. Ten months of supplementation brought about significant reduction in symptoms. Researchers believe this is because the anti-inflammatory properties of the DHA and EPA in fish oil stop inflammatory cells from producing certain protein molecules. Those molecules, called cytokines, are partially responsible for asthma and its symptoms.
Additionally, fish oil helps with brain development, and the development of eyesight. Further studies are being conducted to see whether fish oil will also be beneficial to children with depression and bipolar disorder.
What is the Proper Dosage of Fish Oil for Children?
Dosage is very important, especially when fish oil is being given to a child for a certain condition. Generally speaking, children ages two to three can handle doses of up to 433 mg, while children ages four to six tolerate doses of 600 mg quite well. Children older than that are usually given 650 mg. This is the dosage for children using fish oil as general supplementation.
When it comes to treating conditions, the dosage varies a lot more. For ADHD, the recommended starting dose is 1 gram, with increases going all the way up to 2.5 grams, depending on the results. For asthma relief, dosage can be anywhere from 2.4 grams to 4.8 grams, depending on results and body weight. The best thing to do if using fish oil for a condition is to consult with a pediatrician first.
Are There Any Side Effects in Children Using Fish Oil?
Fish oil is a generally safe supplement, but like all supplements and medications, there are certain things to look out for. The most common, and fortunately benign, side effect in children is a tummy ache. The simple solution in this case is to cut back on the dosage a little bit. Some fish oil can have small amounts of toxins in it because of pollution in the fish's environment. Some children can be sensitive to these toxins and may show symptoms of mercury poisoning. This can be easily avoided by using only pharmaceutical grade fish oil. Children with bleeding disorders or those on blood thinners should not take fish oil unless cleared by a doctor because fish oil has been known to thin the blood.
What Kind of Fish Oil is Best for my Child?
The most important thing to look for when buying fish oil supplements is whether or not the fish oil is a pharmaceutical grade fish oil. Pharmaceutical grade fish oils are of higher qualities, do not contain any toxins, and are less likely to cause side effects. Fish oil supplements made for children are preferable, as they contain the proper dosage already. Finally, liquid tends to be better in terms of dosage control. For example, a small child, or one sensitive to fish oil, can be given half a teaspoon instead of a teaspoon. This is much easier than cutting capsules, which may ooze oil, in half.
As one can see, fish oil can be very beneficial to children of all ages. In fact, many infant formula manufacturers make use of the DHA and EPA found in fish oils and add it to their formulas to give infant better eye, heart, and brain development. As long as children are given the right kind and dose of fish oil, it's a great supplement for them to add to their health arsenal.
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