Healthy Appetites Natural Foods

Children’s Vitamins & Supplements

November 29, 2012

It’s that time again. Back to school! Despite what that TV commercial says, if your child is stressed, anxious, or having difficulties with concentration, it’s not the most wonderful time of the year. Not for the child, not for the parents.

There are some quick, easy, and safe ways to help your little scholars. And you stressed out and not-so-focused parents. You first line of defense is Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA which is needed for brain development as much as calcium is required for bone growth. DHA, to put it simply, allows your brain cells to communicate, both within the individual cell and between the cells. It is also vital to memory storage. You can’t learn if you can remember!

Based on international guidelines, experts recommend that children 2-3 years old get a total of 433mg of DHA and EPA, the Omega-3 fatty acids in fish and fish oil supplements. A minimum of 145mg of that should be DHA. Four to six-year-olds need 600mg of DHA/EPA with a minimum of 200mg of DHA. Everyone 7 years and older, including adults get 650mg combined EPA and DHA, with a minimum of 220mgs of DHA.

Pregnant women, the ultimate “home-schoolers”, should strive for a minimum of 300mg of DHA to help the developing brain in their “one-womb schoolhouse”. Check the supplement facts label to see how much DHA and EPA is in each serving.

The class bully just called you “Fat Head”? What a nice guy! Thanks for noticing! The human brain is made up of appoximately 60 percent fats. Is your child’s diet filled with sources of bad fats like French fries, potato chips, cream-filled golden Devil’s Food deserts that rhyme with “Stinkies”, and other junk foods? They could be headed for trouble with lack of concentration and aggravate existing learning disabilities. Good fats compete with bad fats for absorbtion and utilization. Limit the intake of trans fats and fats from red meat while consuming enough good fats, from salmon, sardines, walnuts, flaxseeds and Omega-3 supplements. Extra credit! Good fats raise your HDL, the “good cholesterol.”

If you child is having issues with anxiety there’s a wonderful supplement called L-theanine. It’s an amino acid derived from green tea. It’s so safe there’s a supplement company that sells a chewable 50mg L-theanine tablet for kids, shaped like dinosaurs. L-theanine is not only an anxiety reducer, but also a mood enhancer. It produces significant increases in serotonin and dopamine concentrations in the brain. In addition, L-theanine increases alpha waves and alertness.

Calmer, happier, more alert students? Thats an A+ for you, L-theanine! As little as 50mgs can work for the elementary schoolers, while high school kids and adults can take up to 400mgs, in divided doses. It has been shown to be safe at up to 1000mgs per day, but over 400mgs it takes on a more sedative effect. DHA and L-theanine have both been shown in studies to help with ADHD, too.

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