Fish oil makes kids smarter

Fish is brain food, and that's not just something moms say to get kids to eat up. It's true -- and new research shows how the omega-3 fatty acids in fish can actually make kids smarter.

Fish oil during pregnancy and early childhood can increase the IQ by an average nearly 4 points, according to the study of omega-3 deficiency conducted by researchers at NYU.

Want to know how big that is? That's almost equivalent to the boost some kids get when they're enrolled in an early education program.

Not bad for something that takes no time, requires no teachers, is inexpensive, widely available, perfectly safe, and comes with dozens of other benefits in kids and adults alike.

But it's also not surprising, because the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are essential to the brain at every age -- and early childhood intelligence is just one of the many roles it plays.

These essential fatty acids are also critical to behavior, mood, and attention spans -- and I'm convinced omega-3 deficiency is a big reason for the rise in the problems in all of these areas among children today.

In studies, children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder given high doses of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA showed remarkable improvements -- and I've seen those improvements myself in my own patients who started out with an omega-3 deficiency.

Don't wait for the child or grandchild in your life to show the warning signs of ADHD or other behavioral problems before you take action. Make sure all the kids in your home are taking omega-3 supplements to keep them away from an omega-3 deficiency.

Babies will get the omega-3s they need naturally from breast milk. However, in cases where bottle-feeding is necessary, be sure to supplement, especially with the omega-3 fatty acid DHA.

And considering the role these fatty acids play in heart protection, brain health, and more at every age, don't just give this stuff to the little ones. Make sure you take it yourself, too.