Article – Nature’s Way – Why is DHA important for children?
Childhood is a period of brain growth and maturation. The extend of how much the brain grows and mature during these vital years will impact their lives forever. If you are a parent, you can help your child achieve optimum growth via complete nutrition as well as giving them a little extra.
If you are after promoting brain development and improving cognitive abilities (referring to improve learning, thinking, and understanding capabilities), look no further than docosahexaenoic acid or DHA.
What is DHA? DHA is scientifically known as docosahexaenoic acid. It is an Omega-3 fatty acid, the unsaturated fats, or good fats that our body needs. It is primarily found in brain tissues and known to keep it functioning to the best of its ability. Essentially, DHA is a brain nutrition. Like bones needs calcium, brain needs DHA.
To put into perspective, an adult brain contains 40% DHA while the eyes contains 60% DHA.1
How important is DHA? Well, studies have linked low levels of DHA in the brain to impaired learning and bad behavior.2
DHA is known to have many benefits that is verified by the scientific communities. Here are the top 3 benefits having greatest impact on children.
#TOP 1: IMPACT ON BRAIN DEVELOPMENT
Presence of DHA within brain is essential for normal brain development and function during childhood years. During these vital years, the brain goes through growth and maturation. In the first 2 years after birth, the brain goes through primary growth phase focusing on adding weight. In later years, it switches focus into development for higher-order cognitive activities such as planning, problem solving and focused attention. It is these skills that help children navigate successfully through their lives.
Here are some great findings:
Studies of DHA intake vs. brain activity have revealed favorable results in terms of cognitive abilities, planning, problem solving and learning.2
In the DHA Oxford Learning and Behavior (DOLAB) study on healthy but underperforming students found with DHA supplementation, these children improved significantly reading and behavior.3
#TOP 2: IMPACT ON EYESIGHT
DHA is important for normal, healthy eye function, particularly in the retina. In retina, DHA made up to 60% of its weight content.
During the first 8 years of a child’s life, DHA is critical in development of vision functions such as visual acuity. In later years, DHA serves as a protective agent against degeneration and damages brought by environmental aggressors. Therefore, it is important to always have sufficient DHA in their diet.
Here are some great findings:
Intake of high unsaturated fatty acids such as Omega-3, specifically during pregnancy and breastfeeding, have been associated with subsequent improvements in an array of functions, including visual acuity.4
A 12-week study among contact lens wearers found supplementing with Omega 3 daily improved eye discomfort by 42% due to its anti-inflammatory effect.5
#TOP 3: IMPACT ON BEHAVIOUR
Supplementation with DHA rich fish oil is shown to improve perceived hyperactivity, ADHD symptoms, impulsiveness, and aggression in children.
This is because the brain’s frontal lobes associated with the limbic system are naturally rich in DHA. The limbic system supports a variety of functions including emotion, behavior, motivation, long-term memory, and olfaction. It is here where development of high-level cognitive function takes place. These higher-level cognitive functions correspond to a child‘s social, emotional and behavioral development. 6, 7
Here are some great findings:
An Oxford University study showed that omega-3 in the blood increased a child’s ability to learn and they tend to behave better. The 16-week study in 362 children, those taking 600 mg of DHA daily had an 8% decrease in impulsive behaviors as rated by their parents — which was twice the decrease observed in the placebo group. The study showed that DHA can affect brain function well beyond early development in healthy children.
In another 16-week study in 40 boys with ADHD, 650 mg each of DHA and EPA daily alongside the children’s usual ADHD medication resulted in a 15% decrease in attention problems, compared to a 15% increase in the placebo group.8
In summary, our bodies are capable of many things but creating its own Omega-3 fatty acids is not one of them. To support all that brain, eye and nervous system development, children ages 4 to 12 need enough DHA. But kids and healthy foods are not always on the same page. Children are naturally picky eaters. It is highly unlikely children gets all the DHA they need from diets alone.
Hence, incorporating DHA supplement into their diet is important.
Nature’s Way Omega 3 Fish Oil 511mg is high in DHA – an essential fatty acid kids need throughout their vital years to support development of brain health, cognitive function, learning and information processing. Our No. 1 Selling Product since 2009 is getting a facelift – Improved formula, Improved taste, Improved look!
Our product is now even better:
Improved formula – Uses premium fish oil that is produced exclusively from Tuna harvested from deep cold sea. Tuna is widely known for its quality oil and is a great source of DHA.
Improved taste – Our fish oil undergoes ‘deodorized’ technology to ensure no risk of fishy odour. Plus, Nature’s Way winning taste profile combining Strawberry with berry burst are a delicious treat that kids would love.
Safe – Fish oil undergo ‘Molecularly distillation’ to remove all harmful heavy metals contaminants commonly found in fish that is toxic to body.
Tasty – Delicious, 98% sugar-free chewable softgel. It is a delicious, convenient, and enjoyable supplement that kids will willingly take.
You can be confident that your kids are developing optimally in their brain, eyes, and overall health with Nature’s Way Omega 3 Fish Oil 511mg. In short, you are giving them a little delicious extra to grow smarter during their vital years.
- Singh, Meharban (March 2005). “Essential fatty acids, DHA and the human brain”. Indian Journal of Pediatrics. 72 (3): 239–242. doi:10.1007/BF02859265. PMID 15812120. S2CID 5067744. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
- Kuratko, C., Barrett, E., Nelson, E., & Salem, N. (2013). The relationship of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) with learning and behavior in healthy children: A review. Retrieved October 28, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3738999/
- Richardson, AJ., Burton, JR., Sewell, RP., Spreckelsen, TF., & Montgomery, P. (2012). Docosahexaenoic acid for reading, cognition and behavior in children aged 7-9 years: a randomized, controlled trial (the DOLAB Study). PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e43909. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043909. Epub 2012 Sep 6. PMID: 22970149; PMCID: PMC3435388.
- Birch EE, Carlson SE, Hoffman DR, Fitzgerald-Gustafson KM, Fu VL, Drover JR, Castaneda YS, Minns L, Wheaton DK, Mundy D, Marunycz J, Diersen-Schade DA. The DIAMOND (DHA Intake and Measurement Of Neural Development) Study: a double-masked, randomized controlled clinical trial of the maturation of infant visual acuity as a function of the dietary level of docosahexaenoic acid. The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2010; 91:848–859. [PubMed: 20130095]
- Downie LE, Gad A, Wong CY, Gray JHV, Zeng W, Jackson DC, Vingrys AJ. Modulating Contact Lens Discomfort With Anti-Inflammatory Approaches: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2018 Jul 2;59(8):3755-3766. doi: 10.1167/iovs.18-24758. PMID: 30046817.
- Barkley, R.A. The executive functions and self-regulation: An evolutionary neuropsychological perspective. Neuropsychol. Rev. 2001, 11, 1–29.
- Steinberg, L. Psychological control: Style or substance? New Dir. Child Adolesc. Dev. 2005, 2005, 71–78.
- Bos DJ, Oranje B, Veerhoek ES, Van Diepen RM, Weusten JM, Demmelmair H, Koletzko B, de Sain-van der Velden MG, Eilander A, Hoeksma M, Durston S. Reduced Symptoms of Inattention after Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation in Boys with and without Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015 Sep;40(10):2298-306. doi: 10.1038/npp.2015.73. Epub 2015 Mar 19. PMID: 25790022; PMCID: PMC4538345.