Fish oil is a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are important for the health and wellbeing of growing bodies. Omega 3's are important structural components of the body's cell membranes and in children they support the development of the eyes, brain and nerves, and may have an effect on learning, attention and behaviour. Across all life stages, omega 3 can help maintain heart health, joint health and normal cell function.
Your body cannot produce its own omega 3 fatty acids, they therefore need to be obtained through the foods you eat. Unfortunately, Australian children are not consuming enough to meet their body's demands.
The estimated amounts of omega 3 from fish oil needed to support childhood growth and development are as follows:
- 40mg of omega 3 (EPA and DHA) per day to support the basic daily needs of 1-3 year olds1
- 55mg of omega 3 (EPA and DHA) per day to support the basic daily needs of 4-8 year olds1
- 70mg of omega 3 (EPA and DHA) per day to support the basic daily needs of 9-13 year olds1
- 300mg of omega 3 daily to support normal nervous system and brain function
- 600mg of omega 3 daily to support learning and memory, attention and behaviour in some children
How can I ensure my child gets the fish oil they need?
For optimum health, ensure your kids are consuming oily fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna and anchovies regularly. If this is too difficult, especially when they pass through periods of fussy eating, a fish oil supplement may be important in providing these essential fatty acids. To help your child meet their omega 3 fatty acid needs, consider a kid-friendly omega 3 supplement to top up their daily intake and support their brain, nerve, eye and general health.