Prevention – Children and Adolescents

Healthy Development in Childhood & Adolescence

Even in the womb, unborn children receive unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids - such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) -from their mother through the umbilical cord. Once a child is born, these vital fatty acids are supplied to them through their mother’s milk while they are nursing.

During fetal and infant development, DHA is incorporated into virtually all types of tissue. It is the most abundant polyunsaturated fatty acid in brain and nerve tissue and it takes up about 40 percent of the fatty acids in the brain and even as much as 60 % of the fatty acids in the retina. Based on this information, it can be deduced that a sufficient concentration of DHA in young peoples’ nervous tissue is imperative for the optimal development and function of their nervous system and retina -particularly in adolescents.

Studies have shown that a proper daily supply of DHA in children plays an important role in processes such as intellectual development, acquisition of language and fine motor skills, and social behavior among others. In addition, DHA has a positive effect on the immune system and the risk of developing allergies.

Therefore, the physical and mental development of children and adolescents – particularly during growth spurts- places special demands on their nutritional requirements. While breast milk meets all their needs with regard to essential omega-3 fatty acids in the beginning– permitting that the mother consumed all the proper nutrients – as they grow, all vital nutrients must be consumed through a regular and balanced diet with a high proportion of fruits, vegetables, and essential fatty acids. Frequently, children in Germany do not get enough long-chain, omega-3 fatty acids through their food. For this reason, it is advisable to compensate for a deficiency in these fatty acids by ingesting high-quality, essential oils.

Take good care of your digestive tract!

Whether our cells actually benefit from the food we consume each day, depends largely on our intestinal health. The decisive factor is our intestines’ ability to absorb the nutrients that we eat. Dr. Johanna Budwig, thus, recommended daily consumption of fresh sauerkraut juice or sour milk to maintain our intestines and their intestinal flora. Furthermore, the regular consumption of dietary fiber plays an important role in healthy bowel function. Therefore, an integral part our daily diet should include 1-2 tablespoons of shredded and fortified flax seed, blended into a Budwig cream, made of quark and flax seed oil, or in Muttersaft (pure, unfiltered, unsweetened first-press juice of a fruit or berry) such as Fermentgold.

It's all in the mix

Long-chain, polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids – such as DHA - play crucial roles in our bodies.

The daily consumption of a variety of essential fatty acids is a necessity. High quality oils such as flax seed oil, hemp oil, evening primrose oil, sunflower oil, and high DHA content algae oil are all examples of ideal sources of these fatty acids to help your child stay healthy and active.

  • Evening primrose oil is extracted from the mature seeds of the evening primrose and is very rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as linoleic acid (LA) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). It is an especially good remedy for stress-related mood swings. Evening primrose oil also has beneficial effects on many skin problems, since it has a regulatory effect on cell metabolism as well as the sebaceous glands.

  • Hemp oil contains the essential fatty acids linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), along with gamma linolenic acid (GLA). In addition, it contains stearidonic acid (SDA) – rarely found in vegetable sources – which has strong anti-inflammatory properties. The latter is particularly noteworthy, as it promotes the easily disruptable process of converting ALA to DHA, which in turn optimizes the yield. High quality hemp oil also works as an anti-inflammatory and helps against bad skin and acne.

  • Sunflower oil is pressed from mature, shelled sunflower seeds. It has a high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, in particular linoleic acid (omega-6) and oleic acid, and Vitamin-E. It is light yellow in color, has very little odor, and possesses a mild, nutty flavor. The regular consumption of sunflower oil lowers cholesterol, inhibits the development of atherosclerosis, and prevents cardiovascular disease.

  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supports heart, brain and eye function. Specially cultivated algae are rich in DHA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid. DHA is an important building block of our cell membranes- particularly those of nerve and brain cells. An adequate supply of DHA is necessary in order for nerve cells to be able to communicate with each other. From DHA, the body can also make certain tissue hormones that affect inflammatory responses in the body beneficially.

The bottom line

Food and the nutrients it delivers are of great importance to the physical and mental development of children and adolescents. Especially during growth spurts, where processes which lead to physical and mental development are rapidly occurring, special demands are placed on their diets. An adequate daily supply of omega-3 (consisting of at least 200 mg of DHA) is of particular importance. Starting from an early age, the brain needs these fatty acids to support developing mental and visual skills.