Reviewed: Omega 3 for kids – which fish oil brand is best?

Omega 3 for kids: which fish oil brand is best?

Omega 3 for kids: which fish oil brand is best?

I’ve written before about Gammon being a high-energy kid. Ever since he could crawl he’s been off-the-scale liveliness-wise. He can’t sit still, he’s always fidgeting and often purposely knocks things off the table or kicks them as he goes past if on the floor – like he just can’t help himself.

Although undeniably irritating a lot of the time, I’ve tried to look at his excessive energy as a sort of hidden superhero talent – while other kids have handwriting that would put a Japanese calligrapher to shame, or are apparently already reading Booker Prize winning novels, my five year old could probably literally run a half marathon without stopping… and afterwards still want to practice his breakdancing moves… at 8pm at night.

We’re currently investigating whether he might have ADHD or some other sort of special need because his behaviour isn’t… hmmm, how do I put this?… very conducive to school. I know he’s a boy… and I know he’s summer born… but he’s struggling. The school have been great about it, but up until now no one’s been very keen on taking things further because, understandably, it’s pretty difficult to distinguish between the behaviour of a normal chaotic anti-social anarchistic kamikaze five year old, and one with ADHD.

One day when I was asking the universe for help, a school mum friend suggested I try giving him Omega 3 fish oils, which apparently can help with concentration and attention levels. My brilliant Nutritional Therapist friend, Karen Newby, agreed saying there have been lots of studies done which showed significant improvements in behaviour, reading and spelling by school children given Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids for three months, as well as kids diagnosed with ADHD. She recommended we try for 600mg a day of DHA (you’ll need to read the back of the label).

I set to work. I purchased some supplements, was given others by lovely providers I met and have been experimenting with them on Gammon and Chips.

The problem with this area is that it’s confusing – not all Omega 3 supplements are the same. They all offer different concentration levels of DHA, and as you can imagine, getting challenging kids to down fish oil like it was a tequila shot at a stag weekend can be quite tricky. So I’ve tried to negotiate the minefield for anyone else in my position and here are my thoughts on the different brands.

OmegaBerry: all kinds of wrong

OmegaBerry: all kinds of wrong

Brand: BioCare

Name: OmegaBerry

Form: Liquid (thick)

Concentration: 10ml = 375mg DHA

How much for 600mg DHA?: 16ml (3 teaspoons)

Cost: £22.84 for 300ml (£7.61 per 100ml)

Cost per day: £1.22

Taste (out of 10): 1 (truly hideous)

Overall (out of 10): 1

I purchased this after reading some reviews because it had a high concentration in one dose and supposedly it tasted of berries with a base of ‘orange, mango, banana, vanilla and pineapple’. I think a person with the world’s worst headcold has labeled their bottle – what on earth were they thinking?!! It bloody well tastes of fish! It’s like a meal of fish fricassee, lightly poached in a fish broth, tantalisingly served with a fish jus and delicately decorated with fish foam. After both Gammon and Chips flatly refusing to swallow it off the spoon, I tried to stealthily hide it in some yoghurt but because it’s so thick and gluggy they smelt a rat (or a fish, more like it). They both told me to “fricassee off” in no uncertain terms.

Super Hero: a valiant all-rounder

Super Hero: a valiant all-rounder

Brand: Bare Biology

Name: Super Hero

Form: Liquid (oily/watery)

Concentration: 1ml = 475mg DHA

How much for 600mg DHA?: 1.25ml (1/4 teaspoon)

Cost: £29.50 for 100ml

Cost per day: £0.37

Taste (out of 10): 8

Overall (out of 10): 9

Designed especially for kids, Super Hero is over 10 times more concentrated than even the ‘highly concentrated’ BioCare OmegaBerry, is the only UK brand independently certified by the IFOS (International Fish Oil Standards) for purity, and because it’s a watery lemon tasting liquid, you can hide it in pretty much anything. It’s the most expensive upfront, but because of its super concentration, it’s actually the cheapest of all of them – who’d have thought?! I put it in both Gammon and Chips’ strawberry yoghurt and they were none-the-wiser. The only downside of this brand is that it’s quite tricky to pour out the required amount (it dribbles a bit), and although it smells and tastes lemony on its own or when mixed with something, it is literally a fish oil, so if you get it on your fingers it can emit a bit of a bad smell which may…um… follow you round like a bad smell. Bare Biology have told me they’re currently working on improving their pouring system, but for now when I pour I just stick my tongue out in concentration like a kid playing Operation and it’s all good!

Lil Critters: keep away from diabetics!

Lil Critters: keep away from diabetics!

Brand: L’il Critters

Name: OmegaBe-3 DHA

Form: Gummy fish

Concentration: 2 gummy fish = 32mg DHA

How much for 600mg DHA?: 37.5 gummy fish

Cost: £19.67 for 180 gummy fish

Cost per day: £4.10

Taste (out of 10): 9

Overall (out of 10): 3

These are delicious… not even a trace of fish taste. Well, they should taste bloody lovely – they’re totally encapsulated in sugar. Gammon and Chips call them “healthy sweeties”. Hmmm, not sure about that definition. I’d need to give Gammon almost 38 of them per day to get to the recommended 600mg of DHA. Considering I’m hoping the Omega 3 will help to reduce his hyperactivity, I’m not sure an extra 28 teaspoons of sugar are going to help our cause. Yeah, good luck with that one! They’re also the most expensive per day in terms of DHA levels.

ASDA Omega 3: so low in dose, even the monkey can't save them

ASDA Omega 3: so low in dose, even the monkey can’t save them

Brand: ASDA

Name: Kids’ Omega 3

Form: Chewable capsules

Concentration: 1 capsule = 110mg EPA/DHA (so let’s halve and say 55mg)

How much for 600mg DHA?: 11 capsules

Cost: £2.70 for 60 capsules

Cost per day: £0.50

Taste (out of 10): 7

Overall (out of 10): 5

Chips will chew these to pop the lemon-flavoured oil within and will happily ingest, although she doesn’t like the capsule casing and will throw that in the bin. Gammon doesn’t like chewing them but will happily swallow these whole with a glass of water. But even he would probably balk at having to down 11 of them. Cheap, but probably not so cheerful.

Berry Burst Chewies: Berry good, but not easy on the wallet

Berry Burst Chewies: Berry good, but not easy on the wallet

Brand: Efamol Brain

Name: Berry Burst Chewies

Form: Chewable capsules

Concentration: 1 capsule = 200mg DHA

How much for 600mg DHA?: 3 capsules

Cost: £8.99 for 30 capsules

Cost per day: £0.90

Taste (out of 10): 8

Overall (out of 10): 8

Both Gammon and Chips were happy to chew these and swallow the capsule case. They liked the berry flavor and would’ve been happy to have three a day if necessary. However, they’re about 2.5 times the cost of Bare Biology’s Super Hero though for the same level of DHA, and you have to make more of an event out of taking them (rather than just slip it into some yoghurt or lemon squash) so it might be an unnecessary palava for some families.

HalibOrange: extra vitamins included

HalibOrange: extra vitamins included

Brand: HalibOrange/Seven Seas

Name: Kids Omega-3

Form: Chewable capsules (orange)

Concentration: 1 capsule = 84mg DHA

How much for 600mg DHA?: 7 capsules

Cost: £4.99 for 45 capsules

Cost per day: £0.78

Taste (out of 10): 6

Overall (out of 10): 7

Both Gammon and Chips will take these – Chips is happy to chew and burst them, while Gammon doesn’t like the taste (I tried one – they are pretty rank!) but is happy to swallow them whole with water. These also include vitamins A, C, D and E so you can probably skip on an extra multivitamin if that’s the way you roll.

So without further ado: the winner is… drumroll please…

Bare Biology’s Super Hero!!! A brilliant all-rounder.

We don’t know yet whether taking DHA for three months will improve Gammon’s concentration levels, but we’re definitely willing to give it a go and I’ll report back any changes I notice – watch this space!

Disclaimer: I paid to attend a FAB seminar on Feeding Better Behaviour, Learning and Mood where I was given a free sample of the Efamol ‘Berry Burst Chewies’. At the seminar I met Bare Biology’s founder, who gave me a bottle of ‘Super Hero’ to try. All the other products I purchased myself. This is an honest review and the Efamol and Bare Biology products scored well because of their high concentration mixed with their great taste for kids and price.

19 thoughts on “Reviewed: Omega 3 for kids – which fish oil brand is best?

  1. Best of luck with getting to the bottom of your son’s troubles lovely. I give my girls fermented cod liver oil, which is completely natural and supposedly the very best omega boost on the planet. I definitely noticed a negative effect when we ran out and had to wait a week the new bottle. Might be worth investigating? It’s by a brand called Green Pastures and I buy from Seventh Wave xxx

    • Thanks so much for the tip. I havent heard of that one – i’ll investigate. Do your girls take it without complaining of the taste?

      • They do hon, the bottle comes with a special syringe and I fill it but let them syringe it into their own mouths so it’s a bit of ceremony and they enjoy it 🙂

  2. We do take a supplement after reading about the benefits. Not sure if it helps Natty’s cognitive function but everything’s worth a go isn’t it. Eye Q tastes nice (strawberry). Good luck with solutions to your son’s bounciness.
    Hayley

    • Absolutely worth a go! I’m sure we’ll talk bounciness next time we meet up. Thanks for reading Hayley. xoxo

  3. Pingback: Reviewed: Omega 3 for kids – which fish oil brand is best? | LAB

    • Yes, definitely. Really important… and if it can help with concentration levels too – you’d be mad not to! Thanks for commenting Lilinha! xoxo

  4. This is a really interesting Maddie, I too have a very active child and we gave him Omega 3 when he was younger. I have to admit that I never checked how much he needed and it is great that you point that out. I am sure that it helped him and I was very grateful to the midwife that recommended it. This is a great post and I’m sure there will be lots of parents who will read this and find your comments on the different products really useful.

    • Thanks so much for your lovely comment. Yeah, it’s definitely worth a shot, don’t you think? Omega 3 is good for bones and joints too I think, so it can’t hurt… but if it does help with concentration and behaviour then I think I’d be mad not to! I think lots of parents still haven’t heard of the link between Omega 3 in kids and improvements in concentration levels/spelling/reading/writing/etc (I know I hadn’t) so hopefully this will be a helpful resource for them. Thanks again for commenting! xoxo

  5. Very interesting. I’m pretty sceptical in health food/supplement claims due to some dodgy research practice used to substantiate claims. I’ve followed you on Twitter and look forward to hearing how it goes. Are you planning a before and after log of behaviour? And if your little bouncer continues to bounce it might be worth keeping an open mind on things such as sensory integration disorder which, among other things, can see children seeking out sensory ‘experiences’ to fulfil a need for sensory stimulation. It’s not a well known term here in UK yet unless you come across it in paediatric health. See Sensory Integration Network if you’re interested. Good luck with the omega oil.

    • Thanks Lucy! Yes, I’m planning to do some sort of ‘before and after’ behaviour post, although I’m not sure yet how exactly I’ll do that. I’ll put my thinking cap on! Yes, I’ve looked into Sensory Integration Disorder (my friend who is a speech therapist told me about it and suggested I mention it to the school) so we are looking into this at the moment – we’ve had a referral to the school’s Occupational Therapist, so are just waiting for them to confirm an appointment for us/my son with the school. I’ll follow you on Twitter too. Maddie xoxo

  6. Really useful article. Have been looking around for best omega-3 supplements as Sprog1 isn’t a big fish eater. The Bare Biology one look excellent so will definitely give it a go….thank you!

  7. I have read an awful lot of articles lately about the use of Omega 3 supplementation and I have found yours by far the most useful, especially with regards to getting a six year old to actually abide the taste, and what will actually benefit her the most in terms of improved cognitive function. 4 months later, a child showing signs of dyslexia, extremely poor focus and concentration in school has improved in leaps and bounds. And it was Super Hero which I have used (after trying all the others first!) I don’t know about what all the medical research says, but in our case, it has made a huge significant difference at school and day to day life. Also it helps to let her think that this supplement is turning her into a Super Hero and giving her special brain powers! So just to let you know, it does work! Thank you!!!

    • Thanks so much for your wonderful comment. We have seen improvement in our son too – you know, it could always just be the added maturity that a few months brings – but it did coincide with us starting him on Omega-3. Even if there is no link, I’m still happy for him to be having a supplement that definitely improves his health and wellbeing… although I do think there is enough research out there to say that Omega-3 can help improve concentration levels and focus in both children and adults – so I’m won over! Am really glad it’s made a difference with your daughter. Best of luck with the rest of your journey with her! Maddie xoxo

  8. Hi, this was very informative, thank you. My 8 year old son lacks focus and concentration at school and I am willing to give it a try. Super Hero sounds good. Where do you buy it from? thanks, Arabella, Tunbridge Wells

  9. Thank you for this information. i wish I would have been know the benefits of Omega 3 – DHA when my kids were younger. Both deal with ADHD and ADD. We have a granddaughter that I know would benefit from taking Omega 3. Thanks for trying several out and giving reviews.

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