As kids' weight climbs, power of healthy fat supplements drops

April 5, 2017 by Misti Crane
Credit: Robert Kraft/public domain

Body weight plays a significant role in how much benefit children may get from consuming "good" fats, new research suggests.

The researchers compared fatty acid uptake after kids took a to both overall body and body-mass index. The more a child weighed, the smaller the measurement was of two key in their bloodstream. And the higher the BMI category, the lower the levels of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

The study provides important information to parents trying to ensure their kids get an appropriate amount of omega-3 fatty acids and also highlights the need for weight-appropriate dosing of supplements and medications, say researchers from The Ohio State University. Their study appears in the journal PLOS ONE.

Most of the science behind omega-3 benefits has concentrated on adults, infants and small . But a growing body of research is looking at their role in the health of older children. In particular, omega-3 consumption has been shown to lower blood pressure and increase good cholesterol (HDL) in children 8 to 15 years old.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found naturally in foods including salmon, walnuts and soybeans. Parents looking to feed their children more of these foods should be mindful that as they gain weight they'll need more of them to make a difference, said lead author Lisa Christian, an associate professor of psychiatry in the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center.

"While this study just looked at , it's important to recognize that weight differences could factor into how children and adults respond to many types of medications," Christian said.

"Weight, rather than age, may be more meaningful when determining recommended doses. The difference in size between a 7-year-old and a 10-year-old can be quite significant," she said.

The data comes from a trial conducted by Mary Fristad, professor of psychiatry, psychology and nutrition, and Eugene Arnold, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral health. Their work looked at fatty- supplementation in 64 children with mood disorders. The 7- to 14-year-old children took either an omega-3 supplement or a placebo for 12 weeks. Those who took the supplement received 2,000 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids in the form of four capsules daily.

"We have a growing body of evidence that omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for physical and mental health. This paper gives us more information about an important question about taking omega-3 supplements—how much is a good amount," Fristad said of the new study.

Given fluctuations in BMI percentile measures as children grow, it would seem to make the most sense to base dosing on weight alone, Christian said.

The study also points to a need to consider weight-related differences in all studies of omega-3 intake in adults and children, the researchers wrote in their study.

Explore further: Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help lower blood pressure in young, healthy adults

More information: PLOS ONE, journals.plos.org/plosone/arti … journal.pone.0173087

Related Stories

Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help lower blood pressure in young, healthy adults

November 14, 2016
Healthy young people may be able to help prevent the onset of high blood pressure by eating diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, according to a preliminary study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions ...

Omega-3 and Omega-6 supplement improves reading for children

September 14, 2016
Supplement of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may improve reading skills of mainstream schoolchildren, according to a new study from Sahlgrenska Academy, at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Children with attention problems, ...

Omega-3 supplements can prevent childhood asthma

December 29, 2016
Taking certain omega-3 fatty acid supplements during pregnancy can reduce the risk of childhood asthma by almost one third, according to a new study from the Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood (COPSAC) ...

Insufficient evidence for the use of omega 3 supplements in treating depression

November 5, 2015
New research out today concludes that there is insufficient evidence for the use of taking an Omega 3 fatty acid supplement in treating major depressive disorder.

High serum omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid concentrations linked to lower risk of type 2 diabetes

March 24, 2016
A new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows that high serum omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid concentrations are linked to a significantly reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. The findings were published in the ...

Despite health benefits, most children and adults have a 'nutrition gap' in omega-3 fatty acids

July 16, 2013
Because of a diet low in fish and seafood, children and adults in North America and other parts of the world, have a "nutrition gap" of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid ...

Recommended for you

Moderate coffee drinking 'more likely to benefit health than to harm it', say experts

November 22, 2017
Drinking coffee is "more likely to benefit health than to harm it" for a range of health outcomes, say researchers in The BMJ today.

When traveling on public transport, you may want to cover your ears

November 22, 2017
The noise levels commuters are exposed to while using public transport or while biking, could induce hearing loss if experienced repeatedly and over long periods of time, according to a study published in the open access ...

Different types of alcohol elicit different emotional responses

November 22, 2017
Different types of alcohol elicit different emotional responses, but spirits are most frequently associated with feelings of aggression, suggests research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Air pollution linked to poorer quality sperm

November 22, 2017
Air pollution, particularly levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), is associated with poorer quality sperm, suggests research published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Sunrise and sunset guide daily activities of city-dwellers

November 21, 2017
Despite artificial lightning and social conventions, the dynamics of daylight still influence the daily activities of people living in modern, urban environments, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

Older men need more protein to maintain muscles

November 21, 2017
The amount of protein recommended by international guidelines is not sufficient to maintain muscle size and strength in older men, according to a new study.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.