The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children eat fish twice weekly. I don’t know about your kiddos, but my picky eaters definitely are not. In fact, studies show that most children are not consuming enough fish to meet their dietary needs in relation to DHA and EPA, two critical forms of omega-3 fats.
In this case, supplementation might be necessary to ensure that your kids are getting the right nutrients they need from Omega 3 fatty acids to support their growth and development.
In this article, we’re discussing the importance of Omega 3s for children and then sharing with you our top choices for the best omega 3 (fish oil) supplements for toddlers. There are a lot of options out there, which makes it incredibly important to know what to look for so that you can rest assured that you're giving your little one the best available omega-3 supplement.
Of course, similar to other vitamins and minerals for toddlers, you should also speak to your pediatrician before starting any fish oil supplement with your child.
Is Omega 3 Good for Toddlers?
Omega 3 fatty acids are optimal for maintaining your toddler's overall health, particularly when it comes to brain health. Research has also shown that they may also assist with improving sleep quality and reducing symptoms of ADHD and asthma in children. By offering your child plenty of foods that are rich in omega 3s, you can help to ensure that your toddler is meeting their daily needs.
The issue when it comes to toddlers consuming sufficient amounts of omega 3s in their diet is that many young children don’t like to eat fish, the richest source of omega 3s.
What are the Benefits of Omega 3 Fish Oil For Kids?
Research indicates that there is a myriad of benefits to taking omega 3 fish oil in the toddler and young child populations. Below are a handful of the top proposed benefits:
- Supports brain growth and brain function
- Improve reading and math skills
- Improve children’s sleep
- Diminish Signs of depression
- Improve ADHD symptoms
- Reduce the incidence of children’s allergies and asthma
- Reduce insulin resistance in obese children
- Supports healthy bones
Omega 3 For Toddlers and Children Buying Guide: Here’s What to Look For
When choosing supplements for our children, it’s important to be very choosy about which products we’re buying. Unfortunately, the supplement industry is largely unregulated, which means we can’t always trust what’s on the label or what’s inside the bottle.
Here are a few key considerations to be mindful of when choosing an Omega 3 supplement for your toddler:
Supplements that are tested by a third party are taking an extra level of validity to their products, giving the consumer peace of mind that their products contain what they say they contain and that they are not contaminated with high-risk junk and common contaminants.
Omega 3 fatty acids come in three different forms; EPA, DHA, and ALA. When it comes to toddler’s Omega 3 supplements, you’ll want to look for the inclusion of EPA and DHA, the forms that are found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, and algae.
Current guidelines dictate that children should be consuming 4-6 ounces of fish every week, however, most children don’t come close to this target. Unfortunately, there are no set recommended amounts for omega-3 fatty acids for toddlers, so be sure to check with your child’s pediatrician regarding what their recommended intake is for your child.
Omega 3 fatty acids are derived from fish, therefore, they are sometimes…fishy. Not many kids are very keen to consume foods that have a strong fishy taste or smell, which is why you need to find an option that does a good job of masking the taste and smell without adding too much sugar and junk to the formula.
Omega-3 supplements for kids usually come in either gummy or chewable tablet form. Make sure you choose an option that aligns with your child’s preferences as well as your family’s needs.
When choosing a supplement brand, ask yourself these types of questions: Does the brand that you’re considering purchasing from have a solid reputation for excellence when it comes to supplements and/or children’s nutrition? Do they offer a money-back guarantee? Pay attention to the brands you invest in and make sure they are integral.
The Best Omega 3 Supplements For Toddlers
If you’re looking for a safe and effective Omega 3 supplement for your toddler or young child, this list includes some of the best options available right now.
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1st Phorm’s Kiddo-Mega is a great-tasting children’s omega-3 gummy that contains EPA and DHA. This deliciously fun gummy from one of the best supplement companies on the planet provides your toddlers with the nutrients they need to support healthy and strong vision and enhance their brain function.
1st Phorm recommends that toddlers age 2+ take two gummies per day (or as directed by your healthcare provider) with a meal. Each serving has 82mg of total Omega-3s with 67 mg of EPA and DHA. Plus, they come in fun, fruity flavors that kids love.
- Fruity gummy that kids want to take
- Approved for ages 2+
- 3rd party tested
- Efficaciously dosed
- Reputable brand
- Pairs well with their Kid’s Multivitamin
- Affordable price
- 110% money-back guarantee
- Some parents stated their kiddos could taste/smell the fish
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Mary Ruth's has become one of the most recognizable brands in the supplements space over the past couple of years, with healthy, clean, vegan formulas, it’s easy to see why. The Omega 3-6-7-9 Gummies by Mary Ruth’s are vegan and jam-packed with Omega fatty acids 3, 6, 7, and 9.
The unique thing about this omega 3 formula is that it’s one of the only options that isn’t sourced from fish aka there’s zero chance of these gummies tasting or smelling like fish. Mary Ruth’s Omega 3-6-7-9 Gummies are made from organic flaxseed oil and organic SeaBerry, a plant sea buckthorn grown in the high altitude of Tibet. Users ages 4-12 are directed to take 1 gummy up to 2 times per day.
- No fishy taste or smell
- Includes Omegas 3,6, 7, and 9
- Easy to consume gummies
- Great brand with a ton of specialized supplements
- No added sugars
- Approved for ages 4+ only, does not work for younger toddlers
- Some parents complained that the SeaBerry taste is hard to handle
Feel Great 365 offers a kid-specific Omega 3 + DHA gummy that was made with your child’s development in mind. This formula includes LifesDHA, which is made to ensure that your child gets the proper daily amount of omega nutrients in a simple, delicious gummy that they will be excited to take each day.
This Toddler Omega supplement contains Omegas 3,6, and 9, giving your child an advanced omega profile. Plus, it includes DHA for even more developmental benefits. Toddlers and children ages 2+ are directed to take 3 gummies per day as part of their healthy diet.
- Contains Omega 3,6, and 9 + DHA
- A yummy gummy formula that kids enjoy taking
- Approved for toddlers ages 2+
- Third-party tested
- Affordable pricing
- Each bottle contains 20 servings, so not a full month’s worth
- 3 gummies per day is a lot, especially for those concerned about kid’s teeth
Nordic Naturals is a well-known omega 3 supplement brand that provides high-quality supplements to adults but also caters to toddlers of the world. Their Omega-3 Fishies are a fun, tasty way for toddlers ages 2+ to get support for the brain, vision, and mood.
Each serving of Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Fishies includes 300 mg of total Omega-3s and comes in easy-to-open foil packs that make taking these toddler supplements on the go a breeze. Plus, the tutti-frutti flavor makes these supplements fun and delicious for your kiddos to consume daily.
- 300 mg of omega 3s per serving
- Non-GMO Certified and Third-Party Tested
- Tutti Frutti flavor
- Convenient foil packs
- 36 servings per container
- Approved for ages 2+
- Some parents complained that there’s a fishy taste that’s causing their children to decline them
- Only contain Omega 3, no other variations
Nature Made offers a kid’s multivitamin that contains Omega 3, so this is not necessarily a straight-up toddler omega 3 supplement, however, if you’re also looking for a quality multivitamin, this one could fit the bill and kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.
This Toddler Multi with Omega 3 comes in a tasty gummy format that includes 9 essential nutrients plus 30 mg EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. These are fun, fruity, and easy to implement in your child’s routine. Nature Made designed these gummy vitamins with omega 3 to be used by children ages 4+.
- Multivitamin + Omega 3 supplement
- 30 mg of EPA and DHA omega 3s per serving
- No artificial sweeteners or flavors
- Easy to eat gummy that tastes good
- Omega 3 amounts are less than if you purchase a legitimate omega 3 supplement
- Approved for ages 4+, so not great for younger toddlers
Which Toddlers Can Potentially Benefit From Taking Omega 3s?
As with any vitamin or supplement, taking supplemental Omega 3 fish oil isn’t for every child, but here are a few populations that have been shown to benefit from added omega 3s via supplementation:
Children who rarely eat fish
Whether your family never eats fish or your child simply refuses to eat fish based on the taste, adding a kid-specific omega-3 supplement might be a healthy choice for your child.
Children with ADHD
While fish oil is not a direct treatment for ADHD, there is some research-based evidence that shows that omega-3 fatty acids may benefit children with ADHD when it comes to symptom improvement. If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, ask your pediatrician if adding an omega 3 supplement is a smart choice for your child.
Children with asthma or a family history of asthma
Research has shown that the early introduction of fish in addition to regular fish consumption (1x per week minimum), as the child grows might help with the reduction of asthma symptoms.
Children with mood or behavior disorders
Growing research has shown strong evidence that supplementation with omega 3 fatty acids might help to improve the quality of life and mental health status in children with behavioral and/or emotional disorders.
Toddlers Who May Not Benefit From Taking Omega-3s
Not every child is a great candidate for taking daily omega 3 supplements. The following toddler populations might not find as many benefits:
- Those who eat seafood 1-2x per week
- Those who have a fish or shellfish allergy
- Those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet
- Those taking anticoagulant medications
How Much Omega-3 Does a Child Need Per Day?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a set-in-stone recommendation for toddlers in relation to omega-3 supplementation, however, there is some evidence that suggests that around 2000 mg of EPA and DHA per day can provide children with sufficient omega-3 support.
Can I Give Fish Oil to My 2-Year-Old?
Yes, omega-3 fatty acids are critical for healthy growth and development in toddlers and are generally safe. The best source of fish oil is oily fish, but plant-based sources of omega-3 are an option, too. However, if you have a picky eater, you might consider giving your toddler an omega-3 supplement, just be sure that the supplement you choose is approved for the age of your child and check in with his or her pediatrician for more information and personalized advice.
Wrapping Up the Best Omega 3 Supplements for Kids
The health, development, and well-being of our children are paramount as parents. We’ll go to any lengths to make sure that our kiddos are getting the nutrients they need to grow and thrive, but when we have a picky toddler on our hands, the need for supplements sometimes becomes apparent.
Omega-3 supplements for toddlers and kids can be a great option for parents who want to ensure that their child is filling the gaps in their nutrition that are created by their picky or limited diets. Plus, Omega-3 fatty acids have a plethora of impactful, proven benefits that giving your child a safe and effective dose as part of their supplement routine makes sense for many parents.
At this time, there aren’t a ton of toddler-specific omega-3 supplements to choose from, but this list should give you plenty of options to consider. Personally, I have added Kiddo-Mega from 1st Phorm to my children’s supplement routine and have nothing but positive things to say about it. My kids love them and I know they’re getting high-quality nutrition and benefits.