We all know our kids need to eat sufficient amounts of omega-rich foods to get their quota of essential fatty acids, right?
If you need a recap: Fats play a vital role in our bodies, in fact they make up about 60% of the brain!
The human body can produce all the fatty acids it needs except for two (hence known as ‘essential fatty acids’): Omega-3 and Omega-6. These vital ‘healthy’ fats therefore need to be consumed through diet, and regularly because the body also cannot store them for very long.
Omega-fatty acids contribute to the proper structure and function of every cell in the body so they are key for growth and development. Young kids in particular need enough of them to help their brain and nervous system develop normally. Studies also show that deficiencies are unusually common in kids with ADHD, dyslexia and autism - as well as behavioural and learning issues.
Today’s modern ‘Western’ diet often lacks sufficient omega-rich foods such as oily fish, as busy families often opt for more convenient processed meal options. As a result, many children are at risk, or already showing signs of, inadequate essential fatty acid (EFA) intake.
This concerning trend has given rise to a plethora of omega supplements becoming commercially available - but it’s important to do your homework and make sure to select a quality product that’s fit for purpose.
Once armed with a reputable brand containing a clinically validated formula, correct and consistent dosing is crucial because otherwise you are unlikely to achieve the full benefits that these nutrients can offer. Following a strategic two-phased approach is recommended when starting on your child’s omega supplement journey.
Phase 1: Loading dose
Ita higher intake at the onset of treatment is required to rapidly increase fatty acid concentration levels. This starting dose includes an upfront triple dose per day for the first 12 weeks, after which time the EFA levels should be optimal.
Phase 2: Maintenance dose
From week 13 (month 4) of supplementation, a lower (1/3rd of loading dose) but consistent daily supply will serve to keep the amount of EFA in the body steady, and at therapeutically-useful levels.
It’s important to remember that ongoing replenishment is vital because the body cannot make these omegas or store them for long, so skipping or reducing intake could mean going back to square one!