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Q&A with independent registered dietitian Dr. Sarah Schenker, about the importance of DHA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid in our diet - ANSWERS BACK

(23 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 29-Nov-12 10:39:35

Dr. Sarah Schenker is joining us this week to answer your questions on DHA and its importance for brain development, particularly in young children. DHA makes up 97% of the omega-3 fatty acids in the brain, and yet, children do not often have enough of it in their diet.

Dr Sarah Schenker is a qualified Registered Dietitian, Accredited Sports Dietitian and Registered Public Health Nutritionist. Sarah is a member of the British Dietetic Association, The Nutrition Society and has served on both professional and government committees including the British Nutrition Foundation. Send your questions to Dr Schenker before midday on Wednesday 5 December and we'll publish and link to the answers on Thursday 13 December.

Dr Schenker says: "Recently published research conducted at the university of Oxford suggests that for children ages 7-9, who are underperforming in reading, a healthy diet that achieves 600 mg of DHA daily may support improvements in reading, memory and behavior. Clinical studies have also indicated that prenatal algal DHA supplementation increased DHA blood levels in both the mother and newborn, as well as infant birth weight, length and head circumference".

Dr. Schenker will be able to explain the findings of these studies and recommended dosage at different stages for both mother and child. She will also be able to answer questions on what you need to know about DHA, the importance of DHA through the different stages of childhood, how it can make a difference in a child's ability to perform in school and the sources of DHA, such as the lesser known algal sources. Algal DHA is a completely vegetarian, sustainable source that is free from any ocean borne contaminants.

This Q&A is sponsored by LifesDHA. For more information on the topic of DHA and Algal DHA in particular visit: www.lifesdha.com/

whiskeytangofoxtrot Thu 29-Nov-12 14:38:35

Hi there
We have fish fingers with added omega something
But otherwise arm, don't pay much attn to this sort of stuff
My 4 y/o takes chalk multi hits when we remember and my 2 y/o still has milk
What should I be doing to up this?

<sneaky second question>
Also what about me? I am a shocking burner of the candle and feel that could do with some TLC nutrients wise - any advice of how to stockpile to avoid the likely festive exhaustion??
TIA

BogoPogo Thu 29-Nov-12 16:38:05

Hello

My 4 year old DD is allergic to fish and nuts. How do I make sure she gets the right EFAs? All the supplements seem to derive from fish and her consultant says she should not risk taking them.

thanks

NumptyMum Thu 29-Nov-12 19:36:14

Am I right in thinking that Omega 3 oils are helpful for children with additional support needs - and in which case, how much per week? My 5yo DS likes fish/prawns and I try to use some rapeseed oils when cooking but not sure I'm getting enough in my cooking. However 2.5yo DD is very fussy and has only recently accepted the idea of fish fingers, so going overboard on fish is probably not an option...

Thanks!

cocolepew United States Thu 29-Nov-12 19:39:27

Hi, does Omega 3 have any impact on your hormones? Should we be taking omegas 6 and 9 as well as 3? Thanks smile

LiveItUp Thu 29-Nov-12 20:03:56

Whenever I look up anything about health and nutrition, DHA seems to raise its head.

Bottom line .... as it seems to be nigh on impossible to get enough from a "normal" diet that might include fish occasionally (generally in the form of fingers maybe once a fortnight), should kids have supplements? I have 3 x DS's (14, 10 and 5) and they have some called Brain Boosters sometimes, but I don't notice any difference in them. And is there a tie-in with most of us being vitamin D deficient every winter - does DHA help?

If supplements are helpful, what is the best source of them? And are there other supplements that should be taken as a matter of course by them?

judey Thu 29-Nov-12 20:43:53

What dosage of algae based DHA oil should I give my soon to be 2 year old? We are vegetarians so don't get any from fish, and I don't give nuts to my toddler.

judey Thu 29-Nov-12 20:46:14

Sorry...also what is the best food to put it in (does it matter if it is hot etc.)? I intend to open a capsule and empty the contents into something....and hope that she eats it.

MrsBeaver Thu 29-Nov-12 20:52:09

My 4.2 year old DD loves tinned mackeral and tinned tuna, but how many grams per week is it safe for her to have?

(She loves sweet things and doesn't eat citrus fruits so am not as smug as I might sound...)

troisenfants Thu 29-Nov-12 21:59:33

I have tried to get all my children to eat fish but have failed miserably. I have 3 DD's 10,8 and 4 and half. The yougest will eat fish fingers but the other two absolutely refuse any type of fish - although I have tried to hide it in pies and fishcakes and various types of sauces even telling them its not fish but chicken! Nothing works! How else can they get those essential Omega's?

MsIndependence Fri 30-Nov-12 08:44:52

Hi Sarah,
You have such an unusual name that I wonder if you are the girl with beautiful long black hair that I used to sit next to in Economics at Rainham Mark? I think we had little Mr Wells for that! My name is Melanie x

tenlittlebuns Fri 30-Nov-12 09:40:02

Hi
I have given my son omega-3/omega-6 capsules since August, for the first three months on double dose, now on standard dose. So he is now taking 58mg of DHA a day via these.

He is 7 and has problems with reading and memory. From what I read above, it would seem that he is still not getting enough DHA to make a difference? Please could you show us an example of what a child should eat in a week to get sufficient DHA? Or do I need to up the supplements again?

Thanks

MaryIngalls Fri 30-Nov-12 17:55:46

Hi, what about vegetarians? What foods can provide DHA? How much daily? Or are supplements the only answer?

shinyrobot Fri 30-Nov-12 20:04:44

'Recently published research conducted at the university of Oxford...'

Can we get details of the above mentioned research please? Preferably online without a paywall grin

evansthebread Sat 01-Dec-12 21:57:42

I'd read that organic milk is much higher in omegas than non-organic milk.

breadandbutterfly Sun 02-Dec-12 20:27:28

Any recommended brands for supplentation? How do they differ?

Amd what foods contain what amounts of DHA/EPA etc - don't understand the difference - how much of each required daily/weekly etc? My kids eat oily fish quite happily so I'd rather feed them cheap food than expensive capsules, but if you cannot get enough from food alone...?

annehathaway Sun 02-Dec-12 22:24:21

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 03-Dec-12 10:46:32

shinyrobot

^'Recently published research conducted at the university of Oxford...'^

Can we get details of the above mentioned research please? Preferably online without a paywall grin

Hi Shinyrobot. I've added a link in the opening post to the research - You can read the research here

Leafmould Mon 03-Dec-12 22:36:18

Would a supplement of omega 3 help my dd with her eczema? Her eczema is severe and she has sensitivity to dust mite, pollen and cat.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 05-Dec-12 13:44:58

The Q&A is now closed. We'll be sending the questions over to Dr Schenker later today and link to her answers from this thread on 13 December.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 13-Dec-12 11:12:37

The answers are now back and you can read the Q&A here:

Q&A about on DHA, an essential Omega 3 fatty acid

cocolepew United States Thu 13-Dec-12 16:41:29

That was interesting, hasn't she got amazing eyes shock

bigbelle Sat 15-Dec-12 09:13:44

We all take eye q- you can get it at boots. I feel like my memory is better plus my knees are less achey. Not sure about kids- they forget to take it even though I try to remind them about taking their multi vits n fish oil. Multos they take more of course cuz chewables and delish. Unlike fish oils.

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