Fish oil is full of essential fatty acids, the omega-3 fats that our body needs but can’t produce on its own. These omega-3 fats have been linked to health benefits for children, from improving brain function for reduced educational problems to helping with issues such as hyperactivity, inability to concentrate, and even childhood asthma.
Reduces Educational and Behavioral Problems
An article in Vital Choices newsletter reports that a clinical trial in the UK found that fish oil given to children helped reduce ADD-like symptoms such as inability to focus, and improved educational progress. Subjects showed “significant improvements” in areas such as reading and spelling, and also in overall behavior.
An article from the Daily Mail reports on how fish oil’s omega-3 fatty acids affect hyperactivity and other symptoms of ADD and ADHD. Dr. Alex Richardson states that three months of fish oil has shown to improve concentration and reduce anxiety and disruptive behavior in children. Dr. Richardson, a neuroscientist, explains that the fatty acids in fish oil are necessary for good brain function, and that in some cases such as dyslexia, autism, and ADHD, the brain needs more than the average amount of fatty acids. When those additional amount of good fats are not provided in the diet, the symptoms of the diseases can become much more pronounced. Conversely, providing the additional fatty acids can help reduce hyperactivity and lack of focus.
WeeksMD.com cites three different studies which show the benefits of fish oil in preventing or treating childhood asthma. The first, an Australian study, finds that a lack of omega-3 fats in the diet significantly increased the risk of developing childhood asthma. A Japanese study shows that fish oil supplements help reduce asthmatic symptoms; the 10-month study showed a drop in asthma score (frequency and severity of asthma attacks) from 21 to 8 for the group taking fish oil, with no such change for the group not on fish oil. Another Australian study, from the University of Sydney, finds that children who regularly consume fresh, oily fish have a risk four times lower of developing childhood asthma.