The Star Malaysia - Star2
For brain development and better sleep
MANY kids nowadays lead busy lives, especially when exam time is around the corner. Parents also plan various educational activities throughout the day to maximise their child’s intellectual potential and help him rise to the top of the class.
Omega-3 DHA for brain development
Omega-3 DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) is touted as a brain nutrition. Brains need DHA to ensure healthy growth of the nerves. The more well developed the nerves are in the brain, the faster it is able to process information, translating to a higher IQ and smartness in class.
The DOLAB (DHA Oxford Learning and Behaviour) Study shows that giving 600mg/ day of Omega-3 DHA to children age seven to nine years old for 16 weeks helps improve reading and behaviour of underperforming children in mainstream primary schools.(1)
A senior researcher at the University of Oxford, Dr Alex Richardson quoted, “The results showed that taking daily supplements of Omega-3 DHA improved reading performance for the poorest readers and helped these children catch up with their peer group.”
Omega-3 DHA for better quality sleep
Sleep is as important as nutrition and exercise. According to the National Sleep Foundation, school-age children and teens on an average need about nine to 11 hours of sleep per night.(2)
Getting enough good quality sleep helps in cognitive restitution, memory consolidation, learning, decision making and processing of an individual.(3),
However, a study in Malaysia showed that 41.5% of children aged six to 12 did not get enough sleep with increasing age.(5)
Without enough quality rest each night, they experience many unhealthy consequences.
A new preliminary data from the Oxford University DOLAB research study showed that Omega-3 DHA could help improve quality of sleep in children.
Children in this group were asked to wear wristwatch-style sensors that measure sleep. Those in the Omega-3 DHA group have marked improvement in sleep quality and Omega-3 DHA blood levels. These children were awake for less throughout the night.(6)
Kids and DHA
The dietary source for DHA is oily fishes like tuna, salmon, mackerel and trout. The World Health Organisation recommends 200–250mg EPA + DHA combined for children ages six to 10 years old.(7)
Only parents know how difficult it is to get a kid to eat fish regularly because of the taste and the risk of choking on fish bones. As such, giving your kids a good Omega-3 fish oil supplement is the best way to ensure he gets the important DHA on a daily basis.
However, not all Omega-3 fish oil with DHA for kids are the same. The smart choice for a smart mother is to choose one that:
– has Omega-3 fish oil with optimal levels of DHA - and ideal product should have 133mg DHA per burstlet
– has chewable burstlets with a tasty content as there are well accepted by kids as they find it fun chewing, than swallowing capsules
– tastes great with no fishy aftertaste, increasing acceptance of the product
– is safe and free from mercury and heavy metals.
*This educational article is brought to you by Nature’s Way.
Those in the Omega-3 DHA group have marked improvement in sleep quality and blood levels of Omega-3 DHA.
Richardson et al. Docosahexaenoic Acid for Reading Cognition and Behaviour in Children aged 7-9 years; A RCT (the DOLAB Study) PLOS One 2012, Volume 7: 9
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Smaldone A, Honig JC, Byrne MW. Sleepless in America: inadequate sleep and relationships to health and wellbeing of our nation’s children. Pediatr 2007; 119(1): 29-37.
Sadeh A, Shamsuddin K., Fadzil F, Ismail WSW, Shah SA, Omar K, et al. Consequence of sleep loss or sleep disruption in children. Sleep Med 2007; 2: 51320.
Somayyeh F, Poh BK, Mohd Ismail N and Aidin S. Sleep pattern and sleep disorders among a sample of Malaysian children Sleep and Biological Rhythms 2013; 11: 185–193
Montgomery P et al. Omega3 DHA and Children’s Sleep: New findings from the DOLAB Studies. September 4, 2013, The Royal College of Surgeons, 35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PE. Accessed at http:// www.fabresearch.org
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Fats and Fatty Acids in Human Nutrition. Report of an expert consultation. FAO Food And Nutrition Paper. 2010;91:10.