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Are Your Kids Getting Their Omega-3s?

A new study at Oxford University in the U.K. has shown that a representative sample of UK schoolchildren aged seven to nine years had low levels of key omega-3 fatty acids in their blood. The blood levels of DHA (the form found in most abundance in the brain) “significantly predicted” how well they were able to concentrate and learn. Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) are found in fish, seafood and some algae. They are essential for the brain's structure and function, as well as for maintaining a healthy heart and immune system.

Parents also reported on their child's diet, which revealed that almost 9 out of 10 children ate fish less than twice a week, and nearly 1 in 10 never ate fish at all. The government's guidelines recommend at least 2 portions of fish per week. Since omega-3 fats have to come from our diet, we must either eat the foods that contain these healthy fats or take supplements to ensure adequate amounts.

On average, just under 2% of total blood fatty acids in the children studied were DHA and 0.5% were EPA, with a total of long chain omega-3 fatty acids of 2.45% when combined. This is below the minimum of 4% recommended to maintain heart health in adults (8-12% is regarded as optimal for a healthy heart).

Feel free to contact Lucinda Harms, RPh, at CarePro Advance Health if you have questions about omega-3 supplements for your child or yourself.