EPA and DHA are a type of Omega 3 or fatty acid that play a vital role for various health functions such as brain function, heart health, and immunity.
EPA and DHA are converted from Alpha – Linolic Acid (ALA) in the body. ALA can be found in variety of plant-based foods, such as vegetables oils, nuts, and seeds. However, the conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA is in a very small amount.
Other than from the ALA source, EPA and DHA are widely available in supplements, and naturally found in fatty fish such as mackerel, tuna, and salmon.
During the first year of life, babies get their EPA and DHA from either breast milk or fortified formula.
As for toddler and young children, different age and gender requires different amount of EPA and DHA as per follows:
0 to 12 months: 0.5 grams/day
1 to 3 years: 0.7 grams/day
4 to 8 years: 0.9 grams/day
9 to 13 years (boys): 1.2 grams/day
9 to 13 years (girls): 1.0 grams/day
14 to 18 years (boys): 1.6 grams/day
14 to 18 years (girls): 1.1 grams/day
It is extremely important to get the required amount of EPA and DHA during critical period of children’s rapid growth as it can help with brain development, cognitive function, and eye development.
There are also studies indicates that EPA and DHA may improve symptoms of ADHD, reduces asthma, promotes better sleep, and enhances brain health.
In conclusion, apart from ensuring children’s diet is balanced and variety, it is also best to top up their nutrient intake upon recommendation from healthcare professional. Talk to your healthcare professional whether your child require supplementation etc.