Healthy Brain Development in Children

Children are ready to grow and learn from birth

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The brain grows rapidly before birth and in childhood
Children are ready to grow and learn from the moment they are born


Although our brains keep growing and changing throughout life, a healthy lifestyle and good nutrition in the first 9 years of a child’s life can help to lay the foundation for their future learning and brain health

Healthy brain development can be supported by:

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  • Eating a variety of healthy foods, including protein, healthy fats (including omega 3 oils), fruit, and vegetables – healthy eating as a child establishes life-long healthy eating habits
  • Drinking water instead of sugary sports drinks, sodas, and fruit juice – sugary drinks in childhood may have a life-long negative impact on learning and memory
  • Getting plenty of sleep – sleep helps children with their social skills and behaviour
  • Avoiding excessive screen time – it may impact memory, learning, language, and mathematical skills and takes time away from active play
  • Getting regular exercise and making time for active play and dancing – being active is important for brain functioning and development and for physical health
  • Making time to play outside

Did you know? Omega 3 fatty acids support healthy brain development, learning and behaviour

What are omega 3 fatty acids?

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  • Omega 3 fatty acids are healthy fats named polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)
  • They are called essential fatty acids (EFAs) as they are necessary for human health
  • Humans must get EFAs from our food or supplements as we cannot produce it
  • There are 2 main types of EFAs – omega 3 and omega 6
  • The main components of omega 3 EFAs are DHA & EPA
  • DHA is found in high amounts in the brain and essential for brain and eye development and function, while EPA influences behaviour and mood

  • Most people consume too much omega 6 and too little omega 3 oils
  • Omega 3 fats, and DHA in particular, are mainly found in fatty fish, shellfish and algae, as well as breast milk
  • Most children do not eat enough of these foods to ensure optimal omega 3 intake from their diet
  • Studies have shown that supplementing with omega 3 improves DHA and EPA levels in the body resulting in improved brain function

Did you know: Omega 3 EFAs are essential brain nutrients

Omega 3 EFAs are needed in high concentrations to support:

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  • Optimal brain function and mental performance
  • Energy and stamina
  • Concentration and attention
  • Learning and memory
  • Calmness and behaviour

Did you know? When buying an omega 3 supplement you must read the label carefully

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Not all omega 3 supplements are the same.

To know what you are buying look at the ingredient label on the back of the container and compare:

For example the Brain Fish Oil Fruity burstlets contain:

  • Total omega 3 content – 160g
  • DHA levels – 125mg
  • EPA level – 30mg

Choose a supplement with high DHA levels to support healthy brain function.

BrainChild Fishy Burstlets are made from sustainably sourced tuna oil, to provide high DHA levels  

The Brainchild Omega-3 Fish Oil Burstlets are routinely tested for Heavy Metals to ensure only the best quality products for your little one.

BBB (2019) Brain-building tips for parents. Better Brains for Babies (BBB). Available from:

Canadian Paediatric Society (2017) Screen time and young children: Promoting health and development in a digital world. Canadian Paediatric Society: Digital Health Task Force. Paediatrics & Child Health 22(8):461–468. DOI:

CDC (2022) Early brain development and health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Available from:

Cholewski M, Tomczykowa M, Tomczyk M (2018) A comprehensive review of chemistry, sources and bioavailability of omega-3 fatty acids. Nutrients 10(11):1662. DOI:

Dalton A, Wolmarans P, Witthuhn RC, Van Stuijvenberg ME, Swanevelder SA, Smuts CM (2009) A randomised control trial in schoolchildren showed improvement in cognitive function after consuming a bread spread, containing fish flour from a marine source. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids 80(2-3):143-149. DOI:

Echeverría F, Valenzuela R, Hernandez-Rodas MC, Valenzuela A (2017) Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a fundamental fatty acid for the brain: New dietary sources. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids 124:1-10. DOI:

Huffman SL, Harika RK, Eilander A, Osendarp SJM (2011) Essential fats: how do they affect growth and development of infants and young children in developing countries? A literature review. Maternal & Child Nutrition 7:44-65. DOI:

Layé S, Madore C, St-Amour I, Delpech J, Joffre C, Nadjar A, Calon F (2015) N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid and neuroinflammation in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Nutrition and Aging 3(1):33-47. DOI:

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