Q. Is there a limit to the amount of omega-3s a child should consume?

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Friday, 24 January 2014.
Tagged: children, healthy cooking, healthy kids, omega-3

Q. Is there a limit to the amount of omega-3s a child should consume?

Q. While I understand the benefits of omega-3, is there a limit to the amount a young child, such as a 2-year-old, should consume?

A. The Heart Foundation recommends all Australians, including children, consume about 500mg per day of long chain omega-3s (DHA and EPA) for heart health.

This can be achieved by taking in a combination of the following:

  • Two or three serves of oily fish per week (e.g. salmon, mackerel)
  • Fish oil capsules or liquids
  • Foods and drinks enriched with marine omega-3s such as bread or milk.

However the Heart Foundation also suggests NOT exceeding the recommended dose of fish and fish oil supplements for children. There are no dangerous side effects of fish oil (apart from thinning of the blood and prolonged bleeding times) but it's wise to be cautious at this age.

From my experience, it's hard for toddlers to eat more than a serve OR 125g to 150g oily fish three times a week to go over that level of 500mg. They would have to really love oily fish which has a fairly strong flavour – that's not greatly loved by little ones!

Usually those high levels come from supplements or liquids where you can administer more than you realise. It's here where you must be careful and measure the dose with a proper measuring spoon or dropper.

Catherine Saxelby

About the Author

Catherine Saxelby knows nutrition! She is an accredited nutritionist, food commentator, blogger and award-winning author. Her latest book Catherine Saxelby's Food and Nutrition Companion answers all those tricky questions on healthy eating, diets and supplements. It draws together a lifetime of advice and gives you all you need to know to eat right! It's a complete A to Z. A handy desk go-to reference.

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