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Omega-3 fatty acids are important for our eyes to work well and for parts of the brain used for memory, learning and reasoning. If we do not eat enough omega-3, these functions may be impaired. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid found in fish and seafood. Many people who don't eat much seafood choose to take fish oil supplements because they contain large amounts of omega-3. Research shows mixed results about the benefits of fish oils in children. This factsheet explains what we do know.
As you can see from the above information, there are mixed research findings about fish oil. There seem to be benefits for some children, but more research is needed to confirm this.
Fish oil is generally considered safe.
Your child should NOT take fish oils if they:
Otherwise, taking fish oil is considered safe and may have some benefits. Every child is different - you may or may not see an improvement in your child's behaviour or learning. If your child has ADHD and is taking medication, they can also take fish oil. Speak to your child's doctor about this before you start. Fish oil should not be used instead of your child's usual medication without discussing with a doctor first.
Produced by the RCH Centre for Community Child Health and Murdoch Children's Research Institute. First published Aug 2006. Updated September 2012.