Why are DHA supplements important for kids?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
There's no doubt that the brain needs docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid, to develop to the max. Kids who don't get enough fatty acids from their moms during pregnancy are at risk of low birth weight and a small head, which can affect cognitive ability and the central nervous system.

Some researchers say DHA supplements contribute to a child's smarts. Others say they don't. Still others say they negatively affect young memories and kids' ability to do easy tasks.

Some researchers say that taking DHA will hurt a child (just buy algae-based formulas to avoid mercury and other possible toxins in formulas made with fish oil). In fact, a supplement may be the only way to get enough DHA into many kids' diets (especially if the only food with fins they like is Swedish fish candy).

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.