Advice from the Scientific
For children of all ages, a regular intake of omega-3 is
desirable for optimal brain development and function.
children under 5, a direct supply of DHA is helpful as this is an essential
component of the actual structure of the brain and nervous system. (For this reason,
pregnant mothers should also ensure a good intake of DHA - along with other
essential nutrients - to support the developing babys brain growth without putting
their own supplies at risk of depletion. There is evidence that a low intake of
omega-3 may increase the risk of maternal depression, for example.)
For older children, a greater emphasis should probably be placed
on EPA, as this plays a more functional role.* Considerable research -
including our own - now supports the view that EPA is likely to be more
helpful than DHA in reducing difficulties in behaviour, learning and mood. Thus
although both are important, a high-EPA formulation may be more suitable
for children beyond the age of 5, and also for adults.
EPA is used
to make other substances in the brain and body that regulate hormone balance,
immune function and blood flow - and the ones made from EPA are essential
to counterbalance others made from the omega-6 fatty acid, AA. The latter
is plentiful in modern diets (mainly from meat and dairy produce), but its derivatives
promote inflammation and blood clotting, while EPAs derivatives are anti-inflammatory
and improve blood flow.
Re seeking medical advice - this is always sensible
for anyone who is taking any dietary supplement (or even making any significant
change to their diet), so we would support the FSA recommendation. Any good doctor
should know that omega-3 are essential nutrients that are often lacking from modern
The main issue here is that some fish oil supplements may be contaminated
with traces of heavy metals, PCBs or dioxins, because unfortunately not all manufacturers
take sufficient care over the quality of their oils and manufacturing methods.
Another issue concerns fish liver oils - which may be too rich in Vitamins
A and D for long-term use at high doses.
Minami Nutrition products are
exemplary in both of these respects, and this (together with their high concentration
of the key omega-3) was one of the key reasons behind our decision to use them
in our own research into behavioural and learning difficulties.
only known negative side-effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplements, even at high
doses, concern digestive intolerance (i.e. nausea and loose stools). This affects
only a small minority of individuals (estimated at less than 3% of the general
population), but obviously, those with a known fish allergy should avoid such
One other point is that anyone taking anti-coagulant medications
should notify their doctor before taking high doses of any fish oil, as this can
have natural anti-coagulant effects (usually regarded as one of the major health
benefits). This is obviously much more likely to apply to adults than to children,
but provides another reason why people are advised to inform their medical practitioner
when they take any supplement.
*Scientific Advisory Panel
to the Manufacturer's
of MorDHA & MorEPA Oils
Jo Wyckmans, president, Minami
Nutrition Ltd,UK, Minami Nutrition SA Belgium
Scientific Board Members:
- Professor Dr. Artemis Simopoulos, MD, Director of Genetics, Nutrition and
Health, Washington DC., USA (author of the Omega Diet)
- Dr. Alexandra
J. Richardson, PhD, Mansfield College and University Laboratory of Physiology,
- Professor Dr. Krishna Vaddadi, Associated Professor of Psychiatry,
Monash University, Monash Medical Center, Clayton, Melbourne, Australia.
Dr. Jaak Ph. Janssens M.D, Ph D., Chairman of the European Cancer Prevention Organisation,
- Professor Dr. Malcolm Peet,MD, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry,
Department of Psychiatry, University of Sheffield, UK
- Professor Dr.Michael
Maes, MD, PhD; Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology;
University Hospital of Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Associated Professor of
Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA.
- Professor Dr.
Per A. Gustafsson, Associated Professor, Department of Child Psychiatry, Division
of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping
- Professor Dr. Regina C. Casper, M.D. Department of
Psychiatry, Director Womens Wellness Clinic, Director Medical Student Education
Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, CA, USA
- Dr. Werner Faché
MD, President, Belgian Orthomolecular Society, Belgium