As we get older, most of us begin to focus more acutely on taking better care of our health. That might mean becoming more active, changing up our diet, or taking dietary supplements to help our bodies get what our diet doesn’t. But what about our kids?

One of the most common supplements taken by adults is omega-3 fish oils. But should kids be taking this supplement? If so, how much is recommended? If your child eats fish, does she still need to take supplements? These are common questions surrounding the use of fish oil supplements for kids.

Let’s start with the issue of whether a child who eats fish regularly still needs to take omega-3 supplements. The truth is, probably. Most kids don’t eat the kinds of oily fish such as salmon that provides the necessary fatty acids for brain development. Most kids prefer white fish, which is not rich enough in omega-3s. So, unless your child eats a diet rich in oily fish, he could probably benefit from an omega-3 supplement just like most adults.

When shopping for a supplement for your child (or for yourself) always be sure you consider the source. Shop from a reputable vitamin and supplement supplier. Also, choose a supplement that contains antioxidants and that is made from purified fish oil. Choose one that has DHA, an essential fatty acid instrumental in increasing brain function and focus. Stay away from those that contain contaminants such as mercury and pesticides.

Although it is always best to check with your child’s doctor before giving him any medication, including supplements. However, as a general guideline it’s safe to give 250mg per day to children between 2 and 6 years of age, and around 500 mg for children 6 to 12 years of age. A physician may adjust these amounts based on your child’s particular needs, size, and overall health.

As parents, we all want our children to be as healthy as possible, right? We make sure they get enough sleep, insist they brush their teeth, help they stay active, feed them healthy food, etc. But what happens when all of that still isn’t enough? There may be causes where dietary supplementation may be necessary. Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most common things in which children are deficient, mostly because the majority of North American children don’t tend to eat regularly a diet that contains lots of fish and other high-quality sources of omega-3s. Because of that, you may want to look into the possibility of supplementing your child’s diet with an omega-3 supplement. As stated earlier, it is always advisable to check with your child’s doctor before you give them any kind of medication, however.