Nutrition & Dieting/omega 3 supplements
QUESTION: Hi Tim, I have a 7 year old son who is having a problem focusing in school and at home. We have cut down on his sugar intake, and tried to give more fruits and veggies hoping this would make a difference. But since he is an extremely picky eater, this is not working as quickly as we had hoped. He does take a multivitamin everyday. I have heard GREAT things about omega 3 supplements to help with focus and concentration and really want to incorporate this into our daily routine. However, there are so many products on the market I am unsure which one is best for us. I also am not sure the correct amount to give a child. Can you recommend a pleasant tasting omega 3 supplement ( possibly orange flavored) which is not to high in sugar and the correct dosage to give a 70 pound/approx 4 ft tall~ 7 year old boy........
Thanks so much
ANSWER: Hi Dawn, I can understand your concerns when it comes to kids and eating. I have two kids under 4. One is beyond difficult and of course the other eats everything in sight including me and my wife's food.
Before I get to your omega 3 concern I wanted to suggest trying a smoothie or blended drink. It may make it easier to get more produce in his diet. You can even add ice and make a sorbet. The good thing is stuff like apple, lemon and pineapple can often mask the taste of vegetables.
It is best to make your own though as juices you buy in the store, even at 100% are usually strained and missing their pulp/fiber.
As far as the omega 3. I actually did some research for you. While I specialize in supplements, I'm not too versed with giving them to kids.
I do know enough though that omega 3 supplements are safe and important to a child's development.
One option is Barlean's Omega Swirl. It comes in lemon or fruit punch flavor. It contains zero sugar. It is rather expensive, I believe $10-13 for an 8oz bottle that offers maybe 40 servings. I actually learned about this product from an IFBB fitness athlete. She uses the adult version. If you're not familiar with the fitness industry, these competitors are fanatic with what they eat and its quality.
Barlean's also makes a chewable gummy formula.
Another option is Nordic Omega-3 Fishies. They look to be about $30.00 for a 30 serving bottle.
Here is one for $20.00
And finally a really good price at Walgreens
As far as dosages I would stick with the recommendation on the package of whatever you buy.
Different products vary in their inclusions of EPA and DHA so it is best to go by the package instructions. As it also seems there is limited documentation in child dosages.
The main thing is to consider the source. If from fish oil be careful that your son has no fish or seafood allergies.
The important thing is to give him something intended specially for kids.
You should also read about this study done in England regarding omega 3 and children.
I hope this was of some help. I'd always be willing to help further if you had more or other questions/concerns.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hey Tim.....thank you so very much for all of your help ~ you are an angel! The info you provided was so very helpful, but brought up a few more questions. I tried to spare you and contact the barlean company directly, but they were closed and so you (you poor thing) will be the one I ask. ~lol. I have decided to go with the "barlean" supplements, but now I am confused as to which is best. Although they are both omega 3 products, The orange gummies do not specifically say for brain health or concentration, but the lemon smoothie does. Also the lemon smoothie supplement has a higher DHA content ( which I've come to learn is the essential ingredient for brain health). So even though the lemon smoothie appears to be the better choice, I think my son would eat the orange gummies quicker than something he has to drink off of a spoon. With all that being said.....I don't know if the orange gummies are " good enough" to get the job done or if we should just do it right and go with the smoothie !! Am I over thinking this? ?? What is your opinion?
Thanks again for all your help
PS ~ I found all of this info on the barlean website (barlean.com) and went to omega kids section
ANSWER: Hey Dawn, no bother at all.
I checked out both products. It looks like the gummy version derives its fish oil from 3 or 4 different sources, salmon is the third. The way you read a nutrition label is that ingredients are listed in order of content. The higher on the list, the more is in there.
The lemon swirl contains just salmon and cod liver oil. Yes it sounds disgusting (even as I write this) but that's where you get some good sources of fish oil.
The dosages in DHA of each product are rather negligible 180 vs. 120. I say if you think he'd like the gummy version better than just go with it. With kids it is sometimes easier to just go with what works, and in this case we are talking a small difference.
I would say you could hide the lemon in a drink or something but I have 2 boys and am not dumb enough to assume you can trick kids.
Barlean's also makes the kids DHA Swirl which looks to be a quality product. Then again its about what your son will take to the best. The gummies look to be the best choice.
In what little I know about them, Barlean's is a good company, not just some fly by night trying to cash in on a health craze. A fitness model/personal trainer I personally know uses their stuff and she is fanatic about what she puts in her body.
Let me know how he does. I'm interested to see the results.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hi again......just wanted to give you an update. Just for "giggles & grins" I ordered both barleans products ( the smoothie lemon flavored liquid and the orange flavored gummies) I thought for sure this was a no brainer and my son would like the orange gummies and I'd be giving away the lemon stuff......well, you know what they say about the best laid plans..... :-) As it turns out, the orange gummies are not "gummies" at all. They are this little orange colored balls, that when you bite into it, it oozes this vile tasting oil with just a hint of orange flavor. Needless to say both my son and I ( yes, I tried it too) spit it out and just about gagged from the nasty taste of this one tiny little ball. The lemon swirl on the other hand is absolutely delicious and knock wood he has been taking it for the last few days with no fuss. So my advice to YOU on this one don't waste your money on the gummies! They are sooooooo not kid friendly (or adult friendly for that matter)
Thanks again for everything! You're awesome
Hi Dawn, thanks for the update.
Sorry but I had to laugh at the gummy scenario. Nothing like a nasty surprise, especially when you work your kids up to something and "convince" them that they'll like it. Ironically taste is a huge consideration in the supplement world.
Glad the lemon stuff worked for you. I went to Whole Foods to get a bottle but was a bit taken back by the price.
Again thanks for the update. Feel free to write back with any other concerns.