Sunday, November 04, 2007

Fish Oil and the Active Child

I mentioned off-handedly in an earlier post about the wildfire evacuation that I remembered to bring Casey's fish oil with us. The post prompted a few e-mails and comments asking for more information. If you don't want information on fish oil and/or the active child, feel free to skip this post.

As a disclaimer, I have to admit that I haven't personally done a whole lot of research into this topic. I personally am not a super-nutritious person. That's not to say I would let my kids eat chocolate or cake for breakfast. Or even for dinner. Or even for nightly dessert. But it's just not my thing. And, thankfully, it doesn't have to be. That's one of the nice things about parenting with a partner. Because Jason is really into nutrition. Which is how we came to use fish oil. Casey has always been a pretty active child. Well, at least since around age 2, when the terrible twos hit us pretty hard.

By the time Casey turned 3, we realized he was more active than other 3-year-old boys we saw. And that got us to thinking about Casey's diet. He's too young to be diagnosed with hyperactivity or anything, but darned if he couldn't sit still for even 10 or 15 minutes. So we decided to try the fish oil.

Here are two articles that discuss the studies that have been completed on Omega-3 (which you can get in places other than fish oil) and in fish oil in particular:

Fish Oil improves attention and vocabulary
Fish Oil may be better than Ritalin

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you a couple more things. Casey is an extraordinarily picky, picky eater. Until recently, his diet has consisted pretty much of cheese pizza, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and dino-bite chicken nuggets. And I'm not exaggerating. It's not a whole lot better now, but it's definitely better. This isn't really related to the fish oil except to say it made him agreeing to take a teaspoon of fish oil a day all that more surprising.

We don't use capsules, the way they did in the studies. My dad uses the capsules (which have had a dramatic and positive effect on his cholesterol, by the way). And I have heard of others who do as well-- though I've also heard those same people complain of re-tasting the fishy taste throughout the day. And I don't think that's a problem with the oil.

The oil we use is lemon-flavored. We give Casey a little less than a teaspoon at night before bed. We toyed with giving it to him in the morning but found he was more focused if we did it at night. We also toyed with a higher dosage, but found that it was better for his digestive tract to stick to a little less than a teaspoon a day. We buy it and have it shipped to the door, and we keep it refrigerated. One bottle lasts us several months. When I'm feeling less lazy, I'll note the brand and put it in this post.

Casey, like most preschoolers, is a child who likes routine. And he reminds us to give him fish oil if he forgets. I think he actually likes it, though I can't figure out why for the life of me.

But there you have it. And it really has made a difference.


Rowena said...

Thanks for more info on the fish oil. Just for your information and others that might like to try it, Henry's has a good lemon flavored cod liver oil.

Also, I was watching Oprah yesterday because she had Dr. Oz on (has done alot of research on how to extend your life) and he highly recommends that everyone take fish oil daily. He actually uses the unflovered and just adds fresh lemon juice to it. He said it is better to take the liquid than the capsules as the capsules do not contain all of the beneficial ingredients as the pure oil. Still sounds like they are better than nothing. Good to hear that your dad's colesterol level has come down so much!

Hurray for fish oil


Anonymous said...

thanks for the scoop! Alison frm dallas.

Andrea said...

Thanks for adding more. I had read one of the articles. Our issue is with his attention, though he excells at school (5yrs and in 1st grade). I might try this and see how it goes. My parents both take capsules btw, and say it does make a big difference for thier health.