Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for children's growth and development, as they play a vital role in brain and eye health. But what are the best sources and supplements?
These days, most parents and caregivers would agree that fish oil, a traditional source of omega-3, is no longer an option. With marine ecosystems overburdened and toxic, people are seeking greener, safer alternative for their kids.
Fortunately, it's possible to find a safe and completely vegan alternative. In this article, we will explore the best omega-3 options for children, including the benefits and drawbacks of each, and how to incorporate them into a child's diet.
We will also provide guidelines for selecting a high-quality and safe vegan omega 3 supplement and tips for serving sizes and dosage.
What are the Omega-3 Benefits for Kids?
Omega-3's have a wide range of benefits for a child's health and immunity, but they excel at improving brain health. We'll cover the benefits below:
Concentration / ADHD
Since fatty acids are a major building block of the brain, it stands to reason that brain health depends upon adequate dietary sources. Some interesting studies correlate higher intakes of fish oil in pregnancy to great cogntive scores for children in early years. We know now that the DHA rich parts of the brain are tasked with some of the most complex skills in the human experience including maintaining focus, planning and concentration. DHA improves membrane fluidity with many scientists now convinced that DHA can actually contribute to a higher IQ.
Breathing / Asthma
Several studies demonstrate that the prevalence of asthma is lower in individuals with regular intake of Omega fatty acids. The oils also seem to help prevent kids from getting asthma in the first place making it a double whammy. In fact, omega-3 fatty acids seem to reduce the allergenic response entirely, making kids less likely to develop these in later life.
Mood / Depression
A review, in 2009, of several studies about Omega 3 and depression concluded that omegas do seem to play a role in balancing mood and combatting depression. Tests on children with mental challenges displayed lower levels of EPA and DHA than kids who didn't take it. Other studies have also examined the performance of Omega-3 fatty acids vs placebos in combatting mood disorder. The results were clearly indicative that Omega 3's play a significant role in combatting serious depressive conditions.
DHA, in particular, is the omega that helps promote the body's product of melatonin, the key sleep hormone. Other studies also demonstrate that lower levels of omega-3s are associated with sleep problems in children
What are the Vegan Sources of Omega 3?
Vegan sources of EPA and DHA omega-3 are limited, as these types of omega-3 are primarily found in fatty fish and seafood.
However, some plant-based options do exist. One of the most promising sources of EPA and DHA omega-3 for vegans is microalgae. Microalgae are the original source of omega-3 in the food chain and are sustainably grown. They are used to make supplements such as algae oil and algae-based DHA supplements.
You can also find sources of EPA and DHA omega-3 for vegans in certain types of seaweed, such as nori, dulse and kelp, although the EPA and DHA content in these seaweed sources is relatively low compared to microalgae.
What's the Best Vegan Omega Supplement for Kids?
These days fish oils are pretty much off limits for most people, even if your dietary choice isn't vegetarian or vegan. The high levels of heavy metals such as mercury, combined with the ecological state of the oceans mean this just isn't something people wish to ingest.
Algae oil has become the default replacement for fish oils such as cod liver oil. Sustainable to produce, and with a vegan source of short chain fatty acids, algae oil makes a healthy, chemically pure and ethical choice.
That said, you need to be careful which one you choose. lipid extraction from algae is typically carried out using organic solvents such as hexane, chloroform, petroleum ether, acetone, or methanol. Clearly, you don't want these in a supplement you're trying to use for health purposes, so you'll need to choose a solvent-free option such as Clean Omega.
'Clean-Omega': The Purest Vegan Source of Omega-3
Clean-Omega-3, in our view, represents the cleanest, more carefully produced algae oil on the market today.
Produced without the use of any solvents, and within a completely sustainable and carbon-neutral growing system, the entire focus of this product has been that of creating the world's most premium algae oil.
It is extremely light in colour, completely odourless (no more fish burps) and grown in closed loop bioreactor under controlled conditions.
A simple two capsules of Clean-Omega-3 per day mean you'll get 1000mg of vegan Omega 3, primarily as DHA. This makes it ideal for kids as studies show DHA continues to increase in the brain's of children into adolescence, until it makes up about 15% of total brain mass!
Clean Omega uses the latest Swiss water extraction technology, and the encapsulation process - in vegan cellulose - ensures no oxidisation and a completely fresh product.
It is a completely safe, pure and sustainable vegan product and an ideal way to ensure your child receives the best that that nature has to offer.