Fats make up to 60 percent of the brain and nerves in the body. But healthy fats are not the only nutrient to support a healthy lifestyle. These studies on omega-3s and probiotics look at the potential benefits for children’s health of these vital nutrients.
Omega-3s help lactating moms and their infants
Omega-3s are the most prevalent fatty acid in the brain, and essential for healthy development. In this study, 89 lactating women, four to six weeks post-partum, took 200 or 400 mg of DHA per day, or a placebo, while following their usual diets.
After six weeks, fatty acid levels in breast milk had increased by 50 and 123 percent, respectively, for moms taking the low and high DHA dose. Similarly, circulating levels of DHA increased by 71 and 101 percent.
In their children, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 increased in the placebo group compared to the DHA groups. Omega-6 must stay in close ratio to omega-3 to optimize health, and closer ratios may help omega-3s accumulate in three critical regions of the brain during early development.
Reference: Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes & Essential Fatty Acids; February, 2015, Published Online
Attention in boys
This study followed 40 boys, aged 8 to 14, half of whom had ADHD, with most of these continuing to take stimulant medications. Doctors compared them to 39 similar boys who did not participate in the study. The 40 study boys took 10 grams of margarine enriched with 650 mg of EPA/DHA per day, or a placebo.
After 16 weeks, parents of the kids who had taken EPA/DHA said attention had improved, regardless of whether they had ADHD or not.
Both boys with ADHD and typically developing children benefit from taking omega-3 supplements. Doctors emphasized it is important to get sufficient omega-3s during general development and that omega-3s may enhance standard pharmacological therapies in children with ADHD.
Reference: Neuropsychopharmacology; March, 2015, Published Online
Probiotics for urinary tract infection
Young children can have urine flow backwards from the bladder to the kidney, causing recurring urinary tract infection. In this study, children with recurring urinary tract infection took daily doses of a standard antibiotic treatment with or without the probiotics lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium lactis.
After three years, while infection declined in both groups, kids taking probiotics had 22 percent fewer recurring infections compared to antibiotics alone. In the last year of treatment, no children taking probiotics had a urinary tract infection with fever. Doctors concluded probiotics safely and more effectively reduced infection compared to antibiotics alone.
Reference: Iranian Journal of Pediatrics; 2013, Vol. 23, No. 4, 430-8
Betsy’s Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. It’s a good idea to consult your healthcare provider before beginning a new supplement, especially if you take prescription medications or have a medical condition. For example, omega-3s also thin blood.
Article copyright 2014-15 by Natural Insights for Well Being. All rights reserved. Used with permission.