Attention, Please: Omega-3s and Omega-6s May Help Kids Focus
August 9, 2018 at 20:55 by Barlean's
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Omega-3s are good and Omega-6s are bad, right? At least, that’s what we’ve been told. Turns out, it’s not that simple. It’s true that the Omega-6-rich vegetable oil in cookies, crackers, and many fried foods isn’t doing you any favors. But some foods high in Omega-6s such as poultry, eggs and whole grains are good for you. And — surprise! — Omega-6s may have the unexpected benefit of helping kids pay attention.*
Omegas and Kid's Attention
Previous research has shown that Omega-3 fatty acids improve attention in boys and girls.* They’ve also been found to help kids and teens with learning skills that require focus, such as reading and processing information.*[i],[ii],[iii],[iv] It’s not just Omega-3s that are beneficial, though. A new review of studies shows that a mixture of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids improves attention in children aged six through 18.*[v],[vi]
Dr. Emma Derbyshire, a registered Public Health nutritionist in the United Kingdom, analyzed data from 16 placebo-controlled studies of Omega-3/6 mixes among kids and teens with attention difficulties. Thirteen out of sixteen studies — or 81 percent — found a positive benefit.* Specifically, kids who took an Omega-3/6 blend saw gains in overall attention, visual learning, word reading and short-term memory.*
More Oxygen to the Brain
One possible explanation for how an Omega-3/6 mix may help with attention is that it seems to increase red blood cell count, which could boost the amount of oxygen delivered to the brain.*
A Safe Alternative to Try First
Harry Rice, Vice President of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs at the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED), noted that Omega fatty acids are very safe. He said for that reason, supplementation is a good first step to take for kids with attention problems before trying other remedies. Barlean’s superior absorption Seriously Delicious Total Omega and Seriously Delicious Total Omega Vegan both provide a complete and balanced source of Omega-3, 6 and 9, and come in kid-pleasing orange cream and blueberry-pomegranate flavors.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
[i] Bos DJ, et al. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015 Sep;40(10):2298-306.
[ii] Chang JP, et al. Clin Psych Sci. 2016 June 29. 4(6):1094-1103.
[iii] Johnson M, et al. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2017 Jan;58(1):83-93.
[iv] van der Wurff ISM, et al. Nutrients. 2016 Jan 2;8(1): pii: E13.