Your child’s body is continuing to develop each and every day. What this means for them is that they are growing up to be active, strong, little adults. What this means for you is that you need to be sure that you are providing your child with all of the nutrients he or she needs to ensure proper development. A lack of nutrients can stunt growth and cause complications later on down the line, so you want to nip it in the bud now, so to speak.
Sometimes, children do not receive all of their nutrients from the foods they eat, no matter how hard you try to convince them. Many children do not like to eat vegetables, some fruits, fish, and even some meats. The four foods we just mentioned are an important part of your child’s diet and should be eaten to ensure your child receives the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, and more.
If you are wondering whether or not your child can take a fish oil supplement, we will discuss it in detail below. Basically, fish oil contains necessary nutrients for proper brain and eye development, but, unfortunately, the nutrients come from oily fish – something most children won’t eat. So, what to do in the case of a picky eater? Fish oil supplement. Let’s take a look.
Why Supplement Fish Oil?
Even if your child likes to eat fish, it is unlikely that they are getting enough of the nutrients they need from it. In fact, the specific nutrients needed are omega-3s and DHA. Fish for dinner sounds like a good plan, but you must be careful. As a rule of thumb, large fish, such as tuna, should only be served once a week to children to avoid an overdose of mercury.
Fortunately, smaller fish are ideal to eat throughout the week, but should only be served two to three times. These fish include salmon, cod, etc.
Since eating large and small fish is not recommended on a daily basis, omega-3s and DHA must come from somewhere. Fish oil supplements do NOT contain mercury and are harvested from small fish. The concentrated amount of omega-3s and DHA is safe for your child to take.
What is the Recommended Dosage for a Child?
The amount of fish oil a child can take will depend on the child’s height and weight. You should always consult with your pediatrician to find out what dosage is recommended for your child, however, children can take anywhere between 500 milligrams and 1,200 milligrams of the supplement safely.
When you provide fish oil supplement for your child, you want to make sure that you do not cook the oil and you can choose to give them a capsule to take or they can consume a liquid dose. If your child does not like the taste of the fish oil, there are two options. First, you can look for a flavored fish oil for your child to consume. Typically, the flavor is strong enough to mask the fishy taste. Your second option is to mix liquid fish oil into your child’s food or drink – just be sure to mix it up well.
Is Fish Oil Safe for My Child to Take?
Yes. Fish oil is considered safe for children to take, but there are a few exceptions. For example, if your child is allergic to fish or shellfish, you should avoid giving them a fish oil supplement. In addition, any child who is take an antiplatelet or anticoagulant medication should not take fish oils as well.
There are no serious side effects reported from taking fish oils. Some mild side effects may occur such as a fishy aftertaste, diarrhea, nausea, and burping. If you notice that your child experiences any of these side effects, you should speak with your child’s pediatrician about continued use of the produce.
Benefits of Fish Oil
There are many benefits that your child will receive from taking a fish oil supplement. One of the biggest improvements that has been noted is a difference in behavioral problems. In fact, children who suffered from behavioral problems and took fish oil supplements on a regular basis had improved moods.
Studies have shown that a lack of omega-3s and DHA in the brain can cause problems with thinking, learning, cognitive behaviors, and contribute to attention deficit disorder and depression. Taking fish oil supplements has shown an improvement for all of the conditions listed above.
Types of Fish Oil Supplements
Most fish oil supplements are the same, but you do need to pay attention to seven of the most important things, especially if you want to choose the best supplement for your child. So, what are these seven things?
You should make sure that the product you choose was harvested from fish in a sustainable way. Never purchase fish oil obtained from fish that are threatened.
You do NOT want to choose a fish oil that has not been approved by a national or international source. This can be dangerous and it may mean that the supplement contains harmful contaminants.
If you choose a fish oil that is lacking in either EPA or DHA, your child will not receive all of the benefits that the supplement has to offer. Make sure both nutrients are included and in good levels.
Never use an expired supplement or one that is rounding its expiration date. When fish oil supplements become rancid, they have reverse effects.
Avoid purchasing an outrageously expensive fish oil. Just because it is expensive does not mean that it will work any differently than another brand.
You want to make sure the fish oil supplement you choose for your child is easily absorbed into the body.
When you look at the label, make sure the fish oil contains omega-3s including DHA and EPA. You may also want to explore fish liver oil, as this contains another nutrient that is fat-soluble and does not come from many other foods.
If you are trying to supplement omega-3s and DHA in your child’s diet, a fish oil supplement is the best choice. Since there are minimal to no side effects, the product is considered safe.