The Fish Quandary: Getting Essential Oils without the Heavy Metals
Taking Supplements Instead
Supplements can also provide the necessary omega-3s, but parents should shop carefully. Beware of oil contaminated with heavy metals and oil that’s rancid, says Cheryl Myers, a registered nurse and director of health sciences for Enzymatic Therapy, Inc., a natural medicines company in Green Bay, Wisconsin. “Purchase only omega-3 supplements from companies that have tested their products for contaminants,” adds Myers.
Dr. Stacy Bell, a PhD in nutrition and an innovation scientist for Ideasphere, a nutrition company based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, suggests calling supplement manufacturers to ask whether they’ve tested for contaminants. If they won’t share their analysis, don’t take the supplement. Additionally, Myers says fish oil should not taste fishy (even when burped up), but instead should have a clean taste and odor. Parents should test a supplement to check for bad odors or taste before giving it to their children, Myers says.
While parents try to ensure their children get enough DHA and other omega-3s in their diet, they must also keep an eye on kids’ omega-6 intake, says Vannice, adding that Americans consume too many omega-6 fatty acids in the form of the vegetable (corn) oil that’s in fast foods such as French fries. Omega-6 oils provide health benefits, but not if people consume a much larger amount of omega-6 oils than omega-3s, says Dr. Bell. When omega-6 consumption is high, “the immune system gets too aggressive,” she explains. “Omega-3 oils balance it out.”
“Women and children in the US have the third lowest omega-3 intake in the world. The American population simply does not get enough omega-3s, even though the body needs them,” Vannice says.
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