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    Fish oil for kids
    alexneils3 posted:
    Hello, I started giving my 6 year old son Carlson very finest fish oil less than a year ago. I give him over the recommended amount. I did this because I heard a higher dosage was good for ADHD. I recently saw what I believe is a tic. Could I have caused this because I gave him more than the recommended dosage of fish oil? I plan on stopping fish oil immediately but wanted to see if anyone could tell me if I have caused lasting damage to my son.
    lifes responded:
    Hi Alexneils3,

    First, all moms want the best for their kids. Often, our hearts and love drive our efforts to help our children in any way possible. However, every mom must weigh benefits vs. risks, as you are doing.

    It's very important to remember, first, that "recommended dose" for ALL medications AND herbal products are based on ADULT body weight and sometimes clinical trials. Most herbal products are NOT tested, however, on adults or children. By tested, I mean rigorous, double-blind studies in which 1. some subjects get a placebo (one "blind") and 2. even the researchers do not know WHICH subjects get the real thing vs placebo (the second or double blind aspect). Therefore it can be very unsafe to give kids herbals, or to give higher doses. The main problem is, without clear studies, NO one can predict what side effects might occur. Most GOOD studies include as many subjects as possible, so side effects can be observed and recorded.

    Much of the data OR "stories" about herbals (AND many prescription meds) start overseas. But there are many problems when these come to the US. Why? Well, the USA has a higher population than the UK, for example. Side effects are more observable in "high numbers" of persons taking a drug/herbal, so when millions in the USA begin taking a med/herbal, more patients often report more side effects... some very serious or permanent. As one example, a prescription pain reliever called Ultram was widely used overseas with almost no problems over 10 years' time. The FDA did not require rigorous studies; they went by what overseas said. Well, docs in the USA started to heavily prescribe it...soon, patients reported it had very addictive qualities... patients craved the drug even when not in pain. Lyrica is another med now given for pain...same story.

    Another problem with herbals, specifically, is the lack of standardization of "dose" and the "mixture". If mainstream meds are stated as 200mg of X drug, it contains almost precisely "200 mg in that dose". The formula / mixture is standardized. Not so with herbals. Each bottle, each pill, etc. can be widely different from another bottle, pill, etc.--even with the same manufacturer. So with herbals, you really don't know how much of it is in it...or how much you are putting in your body.

    You should ask your son's doc about the tic. It may / may not be related to the fish oil... I am not a MD/DO. Determine the cause, if possible, and seek treatment (if deemed appropriate by the doc).

    I only found 1 study for fish oil / kids: "The Durham trial was conducted by Dr Alex Richardson, a senior research fellow in physiology at Mansfield College, University of Oxford and Madeleine Portwood, a special educational psychologist for Durham Local Education Authority.." SEE

    It's a long URL.

    NOTE that the article says only 40% of the kids studied--and it was a very small study--showed improvement in schoolwork BUT to every "claim" there can be "counterclaims". Was it solely the fish oil OR might something else account for the "improvement"? Also just because something has a small study with some positive results does NOT mean it was a good study... the higher # participants, the clearer the results.

    Talk to your son's doctor. Be honest about the fish oil-- the doc might be able to reassure you. Plus he will have all the info to make a good assessment.

    Your heart is in the right place. But be really cautious about giving kids anything that your/his doctor did not prescribe or recommend. Though you may not have "caused" this, I'm reminded of when parents routinely gave kids adult over the counter pain relievers. People, in general, think "if one is good for fever, pain, aches, then 2 must be even better." But then docs found kids getting very sick... so now, parents hear many warnings about kids and adult doses of Tylenol /Aspirin.


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