The proper dosage of fish oil or Omega-3 fatty acids supplements for children depends on the child’s age group, health condition and how many servings of fish a child consumes per week.
What is Fish Oil
Fish oil is a natural remedy that contains Omega-3 fatty polyunsaturated, which can lower triglycerides that lead to heart disease in adults. Fish oil is derived from cold water fish like salmon and tuna. It's loaded with Vitamin A. Fish oil lowers triglycerides levels. High triglycerides can lead to heart disease in adults. It is better to get fish oil from fish instead of fish oil supplements. Two fatty acids in fish oil are EPA and DHA. Research has shown that many children suffer from a lack of DHA in their diet.
According to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 109, Issue 4: “The major dietary source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is fish, which is not widely consumed by children. There is concern, therefore, that children may not receive adequate DHA and so might benefit from dietary supplementation.”
The Benefits of Fish Oil
There are many fish oil benefits in children, including proper brain development and brain function, mental alertness, improved eyesight and improved concentration. Studies have shown that fish oil helps relieve symptoms in children who suffer from mental health issues such as ADHD, depression and hyperactivity.
Proper Dosage of Fish Oil
Deciding how much fish oil to give children depends on a few factors. Fish oil supplements are relatively safe for children if a low dose is administered. Avoid giving an adult dose to children. Parents of children who suffer from a medical condition should consult a pediatrician first.
Children who consume fish two or more times a week should not take a high dosage of fish oil. There is very little risk of overdosing from fish oil supplements, but too much fish oil can cause an upset stomach in children.
Due to the popularity and health benefits of fish oil for children, there are many companies who sell flavored chewables and flavored liquids. The correct dosage for kids is listed on the supplement label. Parents should carefully follow the dosage directions.
According to Adequate Intakes (AI) for Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Food and Nutrition Board, USA, 2002), here is a list of recommendations:
Children 1- 3 years old 0.7 grams Children 4- 8 years old 0.9 grams Children 9- 13 years old 1.2 grams
Not all fish oil is created equal, some fish oil contains toxins, which could be harmful to small children. Pharmaceutical grade fish oil with a high concentration of EPA and DHA is the best type of fish oil to offer to children. Because of the fishy taste, you can disguise the taste by mixing fish oil in juice or buying children’s flavored fish oil supplements.
Fish oil is safe and offers many health benefits for children, if there is any doubt about correct dosage, always consult your doctor or pharmacist.