Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Omega-3s, Boys and Some Sanity

My son Conor and I both regularly take fish oil, rich with omega-3s. Conor had behavioral and mood issues when he was younger, that had me very concerned. He was often defiant, refusing to do his work, and aggressive. He spent quite a bit of time in the principle's office when he was in kindergarden and pre-first.

A local psychiatrist suggested that I try Conor on fish oil. I had success with it myself, and if he had an inherited mood disorder, perhaps the fish oil would work for him too.

Administering fish oil to children can be a challenge. The capsules are large and one needs to take somewhere between 500-1000 mg of EPA a day for success. This can mean multiple, large capsules. Dr. Yonker suggested we try Coromega, an emulsified form of omega-3s, which comes in foil packages and can be either orange or lime flavored. Conor likes his fish oil. He takes two packages a day, which is 700 mg of EPA.

For children, who don't like the way Coromega tastes, there's another option (if they can swallow smaller capsules). Omega-Brite is a highly concentrated form of omega-3s. This brand was developed by Dr. Andrew Stoll, the researcher at Harvard Medical School, who did a lot of the initial research into the use of omega-3s for mood disorders.

Within the last couple of weeks I've had two friends ask me about fish oil for their boys' behavioral and mood issues. Both have found immediate benefits. I've never been big on anecdotal evidence, but this is encouraging. Here's a report from a study done in the UK at a school for boys with special needs:

Results from a UK study

These results support the use of omega-3s for boys who may be having difficulty in school.

I have a lot more to write about fish oil. This is just the beginning. I just had to share this information, because I know how troubled I was with Conor's issues, and I've seen how relieved my friends are with their sons' behavior now that they're taking fish oil.

We most certainly evolved with a diet that was much richer in omega-3s, than the one most of us have now. I believe that supplementing one's diet with fish oil, is simply a way to achieve a more natural biochemical state. There are no side effects and many other beneficial effects of fish oil. It's good for your heart, skin and immune system. I'll be writing next about omega-3 supplements for adults.