Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fish Oil, Omega-3, DHA....oh My

As moms, we constantly wonder if we are giving our children the best start in life. One current
topic for moms is DHA, a component in foods that is critical to brain development. So many
food products claim to be better because they have added DHA. But what does this mean to us?

Omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA are essential - they are not made by our bodies, so we must get through through our diet.  Research shows that children whose mothers took fish oil supplements during pregnancy
have higher intelligence and a lower risk of mental deficiency or cognitive delay. These children
also differ in tranquility and balance. 

DHA alone is insufficient because other omega-3s (primarily EPA) also play important roles. A good source of both DHA and EPA is fish oil. Fish oil provides the quick energy that improves signal transmission between brain cells, and assists the brain in the storage and retrieval of information. In short, omega-3s are essential in your child’s brain development.

Unfortunately, nearly 80% of children in North America are deficient in omega-3s. Other than obesity, this may be the biggest nutritional problem in America. Children deficient in omega-3s can display hyperactivity, impulsivity, restlessness, tantrums, impaired cognitive ability, and sleep disturbances.

I try to get omega-3s in my boys' diets through grass fed beef, grass fed milk and wild
caught fish.  Yet, children can be notoriously picky eaters, especially when it comes to fish. Without
nutritional supplements, they are just not getting enough DHA or EPA. Finding a safe and
effective supplement is critical, since many fish oil supplements can be tainted with mercury. Many
multivitamins containing DHA do not have a concentration that is effective. Do your research
and find a company that you can trust, for my family that company is Usana Health Science. Adding this essential nutrient into your child’s diet is one easy step that we all can take to ensure the health and well being of those we have the honor of raising.

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