Family Health

3 Ways DHA Helps Kids: A Review of the Latest Research

June 28, 2019

A new school year is just around the corner. For some kids (and almost all adults) this is a happy occasion. Other kids struggle more in school and may not be as excited to board that big yellow bus again. If only there was something that could help your kiddo pay attention and think better! Good news, parental units: according to two new studies, that something is omega-3 fatty acids like DHA. If you’re expecting a little one, there’s even more reason to smile. Taking omega-3s when you’re preggers may also help your tot enter kindergarten at a healthy weight.

Here are three ways DHA can help:

Attentive Kids

Paying attention and staying focused in school is a big problem for loads of littles. Omega-3s can help. A meta-analysis (a study that analyzes the results of previous studies) which looked at seven different “gold standard” studies totaling over 500 children and teens found that taking an omega-3 supplement helped them pay better attention and calm their wiggly bodies, according to their parents’ reports.*[i],[ii] Three of the studies additionally found that omega-3s positively impacted the kids’ cognitive performance.* This could be because omega-3 fatty acids “are crucial for neurotransmitter function,” explained the researchers.

Flexible Kids

Kids need more than just smarts to succeed at school. They also need mental flexibility, the capacity to switch from thinking about one concept to another. A study of 307 kids (ages 2 to 6) required them to learn a set of rules for sorting cards and then to discard those rules and apply different ones. Sounds challenging, right? Not to fear, the kids with higher levels of omega-3s in their blood were up for the challenge and did better at the task.*[iii],[iv] The researchers speculated this kind of ability to easily switch gears might also help children process complex information quickly and stay organized at school. What parent doesn’t want that?

Lean Kids

The problem of overweight children is no joke. The number of American kids who are very overweight has more than tripled since the 70s.[v] There’s not necessarily one cause or solution to this issue. But it’s good to know that when mamas take DHA in pregnancy, their kids are leaner at age five than those whose moms took a placebo.*[vi],[vii]  One of the scientists who ran the study in Kansas City called the results, “astonishing—staggering really.” If you know how scientists typically speak—in guarded language—that statement is astonishing in itself.

All signs point to omega-3 fatty acids being good for kids’ minds and bodies.

(There’s a reason they’re called essential fatty acids.) The question is: How do you get more of them in your kids’ bodies? Omega-3s are found in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and cod as well as in the algae fish eat. (That’s where the fish get it.) As you probably already know if you’re a parent, many kids aren’t fans of fish (or seaweed). Don’t worry, we’ve got an easy fix.

Supplement your kids’ diet with Udo’s Oil DHA 3-6-9 Blend.

Udo’s Oil DHA 3-6-9 Blend made from unrefined, sustainably sourced, DHA-rich algae, plus unrefined, organic oils from flax, sunflower, sesame, evening primrose, coconut, rice bran, and oat bran. Because it’s not made from fish, there’s no fishy taste—just pure omega nutrition.

To keep it as fresh as possible, Udo’s Oil is freshly pressed in a low-heat, low-light, and oxygen-free environment, packaged in brown glass, then stored in a box. Bonus: Udo’s Oil DHA 3-6-9 Blend is kosher, GMO-free, and vegetarian, so just about anyone can feel good about giving it to their kids. It’s time to bring on math class!


[i] Daniells S. Nutraingredients. 2019 Jan 14. https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2017/07/31/Meta-analysis-supports-potential-of-omega-3s-for-ADHD

[ii] Chang JP, et al. Neuropsychopharmacol. 2018;43:535-45.

[iii] Schultz H. Nutraingredients. 2018 Aug 1. https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2018/08/01/Omega-3s-associated-with-better-executive-function-in-cohort-of-young-children

[iv] Adjepong M, et al. J Nutr Biochem. 2018 July;57:287-93.

[v] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last reviewed April 29, 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/obesity/facts.htm

[vi] Gray N. Nutraingredients. 2018 Apr 4. https://www.nutraingredients.com/Article/2018/04/04/Omega-3-for-fat-free-kids-Study-links-DHA-to-higher-fat-free-body-mass-in-children

[vii] Hidaka BH, et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2018 Jan 1;107(1):35-42.

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