Omega 3 essential fatty acid supplements are important to take during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The DHA found in omega 3 fatty acids plays a crucial role in supporting and regulating fetal and infant development. DHA is needed for cognitive, social, language, immune, skin and digestive development to be optimal.
A primary function of EFAs is the production of prostaglandins, which regulate inflammation and play a role in immune function by encouraging the body to fight infection. Essential Fatty Acids are also needed for proper growth in infants, particularly for neural development and maturation of sensory systems, with male children having higher needs than females. It is very difficult for children, especially children with any kind of delay, to convert EFAs to their active form which is why supplementation, especially with DHA, is very important.
The best source of omega 3 and omega 6 EFAs in children is by supplementing during breasfteeding with EFA supplements. Other sources are difficult for infants to convert properly to an active form and/or have contamination issues. Fish, like humans, accumulate toxins in the fat cells that surround organs. Essential fatty acids must be processed to remove these toxins when they are made into supplements. There are very few companies in the world that produce pharmaceutical grade fish oil free of heavy metals, pesticides, PCBs and other harmful toxins.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Pregnancy, Lactation, Children and Adults
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. Read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy. These recommendations are not for cod liver oil which contains fat soluble vitamins in higher amounts which could lead to toxicity.
Recent research supports the use of DHA to promote development and to prevent asthma, eczema and allergies in infants.
600 mg DHA daily
2000 – 3000 mg OMEGA 3 fatty acids daily (this number is different from total fish oil mg)
600 – 1200 mg DHA daily
4000 – 5000 mg OMEGA 3 fatty acids daily (this number is different from total fish oil mg)
0 – 6 months – DHA comes from breastmilk or formula
6 – 12 months – 100 -200 mg DHA daily
12 – 24 months – 200 – 300 mg DHA daily
2 – 5 years – 300 – 400 mg DHA daily
5 years and older – 400 – 600 mg DHA daily
Individuals with diabetes or who are taking medication to thin the blood
Should be discontinued before any surgery
Potentially harmful contaminants such as dioxins, methylmercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are found in some species of fish. Methylmercury accumulates in fish meat more than in fish oil, and fish oil supplements appear to contain almost no mercury. Therefore, safety concerns apply to eating fish but likely not to ingesting fish oil supplements. Heavy metals are most harmful in young children and pregnant/nursing women.
Essential fatty acids, especially when derived from a marine source, must be carefully purified. These are the names of companies that I have personally seen 3rd party testing assuring their purity from contaminants like heavy metals. It is very important to use a good quality omega 3 fatty acids supplement.
- Nordic Naturals
- Genestra / Seroyal
- Nutra Sea
- Douglas Laboratories
Omega 3 fatty acids are considered very safe.
For more information about EFA research, visit: