Summertime and Children


Children Kids Friendship Walking Happiness Concept

Summer’s here and for our kids that means swimming, camping, free time, sleepovers, and maybe more home-alone time. Fun! But summer is also the season when nutrition can go out the window with a less structured schedule. So how can you make sure your kids are getting the right stuff for the energy, playfulness, and restful sleep they need?

It’s true that we are what we eat. And because childhood is a time of rapid physical, mental, and emotional growth, kids’ bodies use the nutrients we feed them to fuel this growth. Their bodies depend on it. One good idea is to make sure their diets include adequate omega-3 fatty acids.

EPA and DHA omega-3 are healthy fats that we need to consume because our body needs them and we can’t make them. Children should consume at least 250 mg of EPA and DHA every day, yet most kids get less than 50 mg per day[1]. EPA and DHA omega-3 appear to be even more important for children with behavior, focus, sleep, and learning     challenges, as research shows they have even less EPA and DHA than other kids[1-3]. About one in ten children, more boys than girls, are affected.

What we know from the research:

  •      Kids need more EPA and DHA in their diets[1,4,5].
  •      Their mental and physical health improves when they get more[4-7].
  •      Kids with healthy levels of EPA and DHA have better moods, better social skills, and better learning skills[4-8].
  •      They also sleep better and are able to focus better[9,10].

Some simple and tasty omega-3 ideas:

  • Overnight oats for breakfast or afternoon snack (see our recipe here)
  • A can of tuna tossed into pasta salad
  • Fish oil stirred into yogurt, eat chilled or frozen
  • Hard-boiled eggs fortified with omega-3s in a picnic lunch
  • A small handful of chopped walnuts


GretchenGretchen Vannice, MS, RDN

Head of Global Nutrition Education

Wiley’s Finest Wild Alaskan Fish Oil


[1] Bird JK, McBurney MI. FASEB 2016;30:1163.3

[2] Gow RV, et al. PLEFA 2013;88:411-418

[3] Stevens LJ, et al. Am J of Clin Nutr 1995;62:761-768.

[4] Weiser MJ, et al. Nutrients 2016;8:99

[5] Richardson AJ, Puri BK. PLEFA 2000;63:79-87.

[6] Milte CM, et al. J Atten Disord 2015;19:954-964.

[7] Stevens L, et al. Lipids 2003;38(10):1007-1021.

[8] Richardson AJ, Montgomery P.Peds 2005;115:1360-6.

[9] Stonehouse W. Nutrients 2014;6:2730-2758

[10] Montomery P, et al. J Sleep Res 2014;23:364-388


Peaches ‘n Cream Overnight Oats Recipe (FOR KIDS!)



An excellent breakfast or afternoon snack on a hot summer day!


1 cup frozen Freestone peach slices (thawed)

1 cup steel cut or rolled oats

2 cups organic whole milk yogurt

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp honey

4 tsp Elementary EPA FOR KIDS!



In a medium-sized mixing bowl, blend yogurt, vanilla extract, honey, and Elementary EPA together. Add oats and stir gently.

Distribute mixture evenly into 4 containers with lids (we used pint size mason jars). Add 1/4 cup of peaches to each container. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. Chill until ready to eat.

Optional Additions: Add 2 tbsp chia seeds, ground flax seeds, or chopped walnuts.


kelseycroppedby Kelsey Ginikos-West

Product Management Specialist

Wiley’s Finest Wild Alaskan Fish Oil


EPA vs. DHA Omega-3: Is one better than the other?




EPA and DHA are nutrients that provide life-sustaining benefits for human health. From conception to old age, humans need EPA and DHA and since we cannot make these fats in our bodies, we must eat them. EPA and DHA are omega-3 fats and the predominant fats in fish and seafood and purified fish oils.


EPA vs. DHA:EPAvsDHAchart

The relative amount of EPA and DHA in fish and seafood differs but EPA and DHA always occur together in fish and seafood. For example, salmon can have more DHA or EPA, depending on the species; pollock has more EPA while sardines usually have about equal amounts of both. The relative amount of EPA and DHA in the human body differs according to diet and supplementation, but EPA and DHA work together in the human body, too.

Since EPA and DHA are biologically active nutrients that occur together and work together, it is difficult to identify distinctly different biological functions. However, here is a summary of what nutrition scientists have learned about EPA and DHA to-date. [1-6]

Healthy Babies:

When babies are in the womb, DHA builds critical brain, eyes, and nerve cells.

Heart Health:

EPA and DHA are instrumental in supporting heart health. Both EPA and DHA reduce triglycerides and support healthy blood pressure levels; they also promote healthy heart rate and normal blood flow. In addition, EPA supports good circulation while DHA helps create a more healthful form of circulating LDL-cholesterol.

Healthy Vision:

DHA is an essential nutrient for eye health and good vision.

Mental Health:

EPA and DHA promote healthy brain function and good mental health. To support healthy mood, research shows that both EPA and DHA with relatively more EPA is helpful.

Among middle-age adults, DHA is associated with clearer mental health. DHA is the source of neuroprotectins, which are thought to   support the health and repair of brain cells.

Healthy Aging:

Both EPA and DHA are associated with greater longevity.

Healthy Balance:

EPA competes with omega-6 fats to redirect and lower inflammation. Both EPA and DHA make compounds called resolvins that restore healthy tissue.

Inside all of our cells:EPAvsDHAquote

EPA and DHA perform many tasks in cells (e.g., blood, skin, muscle, nerve cells) so that they function properly. Inside these cells, they help manage genetic expression and cellular communication; they are involved in transporting nutrients (e.g., calcium and sodium) and in cell walls (membranes) they help determine what flows in and out.


When it comes to EPA and DHA, is one better than the other? No. That is akin to asking if your left hand is better than your right hand. Both EPA and DHA make core contributions to human health. Supplementing with more of one than the other may be warranted at different stages of life (see Table for examples) but both EPA and DHA are required for optimal health.

Since many Americans consume far too little EPA and DHA in their diet, the best approach for most people is to ensure adequate intake of both.


GretchenGretchen Vannice, MS, RDN

Nutrition Consultant

For more information contact:


[1] 1Bell GA, et al. Am J Epid 2014;179:710-720.

[2] Carlson SE. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89:1523S-1529S.

[3] Grosso G, et al. PLOS One 2014;9:e96905.

[4] Hoffman DR, et al. PLEFA 2009;81:151-158.

[5] Mozaffarian D, Wu JH. J Nutrition 2012;142:614S-625S.

[6] Muldoon MF, et al. J Nutrition 2010;140:848-853.
Download PDF Version

Serving Suggestions FOR KIDS!

Fish Dish of the Month, Products, Uncategorized


Have you tried our Omega-3 supplements FOR KIDS? They are delicious on their own, but we’ve found some more delicious ways for kids to get their essential nutrients!

Parents and kids love our new Omega-3 liquids because they are so easy to take! Kids like them served on a spoon or simply added to everyday foods. Here are some suggestions:

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Frozen Fruit Puree with Beginner’s DHABeginnersDHA_LeftFacing

Makes 6 child-size servings

  • 1 cup berries (frozen or fresh, rinsed)
    • we like strawberries but any will work
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 Tablespoon Beginner’s DHA Omega-3 liquid

Combine ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into frozen treat molds (ice cube trays or small paper cups also work; insert a popsicle stick or plastic spoon), then freeze.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Frozen Yogurt Popsicles with Elementary EPAElementaryEPA_LeftFacing

Makes 6 ½-cup servings

Mix together:

  • 2 Tablespoons Elementary EPA Omega-3 liquid
  • 3 cups of whole milk grass fed organic yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons organic fruit jam

Pour mixture into frozen treat molds (ice cube trays or small paper cups also work; insert a popsicle stick or plastic spoon), then freeze.


Download and Print:


Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Two Critical Nutrients for Your Child’s Eyes



Did you know that your child’s eyes develop and mature over childhood just like the rest of the body? Of course, children need good vision to learn reading, writing, arithmetic and for playtime and sports, but today’s world is also full of screens – computer, TV, and cell phone – for which eye health and good vision are key. For optimum eye health, good nutrition is necessary throughout the growing years. Lutein and zeaxanthin are special nutrients that uniquely support eye health and development. These nutrients, part of group called carotenoids, are found in some plant foods, such as squash and corn, and in egg yolks.

Research shows that lutein and zeaxanthin support healthy vision by:

  •      Improving our eyes’ ability to adapt to changes in light
  •      Enhancing the distance our eyes can see, known as our visual range
  •      Reducing the effects of glare
  •      Reducing the effects of oxidation

Lutein and zeaxanthin are particularly important to the retina of the eye where they form macular pigment. This pigment screens all the light that passes through the eyes. Stronger and denser macular pigment has been shown to improve visual function. Getting abundant amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin increases macular pigment density.

MiniQuoteSome researchers believe that our eyes are most vulnerable to poor nutrition during childhood because they are not yet fully developed. Researchers also believe that declining vision in old age may be related to over-exposure and poor nutrition when we are young. There are many reasons to make sure that your child gets the best nutrition. Including lutein and zeaxanthin supplements will support your child’s eye health now and into the future. [1-4]


Gretchen Vannice, MS, RDN

Nutrition Consultant

For more information contact:



[1] Johnson E. Nutrition Reviews, 2014;605-612.

[2] Stringham JM, Hammond BR. Optometry and Vision Science, 2008;85:82-88.

[3] Bone RA, Landrum JT, et al. Journal of Nutrition, 2003;133:992-998.

[4] Hammond BR, Fletcher LM, et al. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 2014;55:8583-8589.

Helping Your Child Build Strong & Healthy Bones



As a good parent, you want your child to have strong, healthy bones. Having healthy bones over a lifetime begins in childhood because this is when strong bones are built. In fact, if significant bone mass isn’t developed in childhood, bones are weak and fractures become a problem. Research also indicates that having weak and brittle bones in old age starts in childhood if proper nutrition is missing. Building bone mass and strength requires the right nutrients.

Most of us know that calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D are central to bone health. But did you know that vitamin K is a significant contributor to bone mass and density? Here’s why: calcium and magnesium need help from support nutrients that I call nutrient transporters. Vitamin D3 is one transporter and vitamin K2 is another. Recent research with children showed that those with higher vitamin K2 status had more bone mass, which leads to stronger bones. [1-2]

GillQuoteVitamin K is a fat-based vitamin. Vitamins A, D, and E are the other fat-based vitamins. Vitamin K has several roles in the body, in addition to supporting healthy bones. There are two natural forms of vitamin K: simply stated, K1 works in the liver and K2 also helps with bone and heart health. K2 is found in some foods but the richest sources are fermented cheeses and soybeans.

  •      The more bone mass and density children establish
  •      before age 20, the healthier and stronger their bones
  •      will remain as they age.
  •      Vitamin K2 plays an important role in helping create
  •      dense, healthy bones.
  •      Vitamin K2 in its MK-7 form has a longer-lasting
  •      effect on building bones than other forms.

GretchenGretchen Vannice, MS, RDN

Nutrition Consultant

For more information contact:



[1] van Summeren MJ, van Coeverden SC, et al. British Journal of Nutrition, 2008;100(4):852-858.

[2] van Summeren MJ, Braam LA, et al. British Journal of Nutrition, 2009;102:1171-1178.

AREDS2 Cognition Study Response

Education, News

A large, nationwide, government-funded clinical trial designed to measure the effect of select nutrients on visual function – specifically age-related macular degeneration – recently reported that 1,000 mg of EPA and DHA omega-3 a day did not slow loss in cognitive decline. The other nutrients didn’t show benefit, either.

I don’t get why they thought it would. Here’s why.

Results from the second Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) published last week were not on age-related eye conditions; instead, the findings were on cognitive health. Why would a study designed to investigate eye health publish results on cognitive health? Good question. The researchers realized that they had carefully selected nearly 4,000 subjects to participate in an eye research study and were set up to follow them for 5 years; it made efficient sense to measure additional outcomes.

The subjects were between ages 50-85 and already in early or intermediate stage of age-related macular degeneration (AMD); the average age of the subjects was 72 and over half were women. The 8th decade of life is about when people begin to experience loss in cognitive function.

In the study, the subjects were given omega-3 (350 mg DHA and 650 mg EPA) and/or lutein and zeaxanthin or placebo (blank pill). The researchers completed interviews and tested cognitive function in the subjects at the beginning of the study and then each 2 years. They assessed qualities such as immediate and delayed recall, attention and memory, and processing speed. Because the subjects already had AMD and were at risk for getting worse, they were offered additional vitamins and minerals (vitamin C and E, zinc and copper). At the end of the study, the reported that the supplements did not slow decline in cognitive function.

Here’s why I’m not surprised:

  • Diet matters. Studies consistently report that people who have healthy levels of EPA and DHA omega-3 over their lifetime have better cognitive function as they age. Other studies have shown that around the age of 50, people who have higher DHA levels have better cognitive health compared to those with lower DHA levels.
  • The subjects were already diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). That the subjects had AMD suggests that, like many Americans, they had consumed little EPA and DHA in their lifetime because having higher levels of these long-chain omega-3s is associated with lower risk of AMD.
  • The amount of omega-3 was too low. The investigators didn’t measure blood levels of omega-3 or dietary intake of omega-3 foods during the study; that’s understandable since it would be cost prohibitive, but they did measure how many of the subjects actually took the supplements and they measured omega-3 blood levels in a representative group. This is customary in these types of studies and it’s the responsible thing to do. What they found is that about 80% of the subjects (4 out of 5) took the supplements about 75% of the time. So few, if any of the subjects actually got the intended amount of EPA and DHA omega-3 (350 mg DHA and 650 mg EPA). When the investigators measured blood levels, they did see increases in those who took the omega-3. That’s good, it means the supplements actually contained omega-3. Studies show cognitive benefit among adults with at least 1,000 mg DHA. One gram, less than ¼ teaspoon of oil.

Bottom line: Giving a small amount of omega-3 to people already demonstrating the effects of a lifetime of low levels of omega-3 for 5 years won’t reverse cellular damage that’s been done. What we do know, is that consuming omega-3 over the lifetime DOES make a difference, and/or consuming higher levels later in life DOES make a difference.

Further, the research investigators acknowledged that studies that have surveyed people on their dietary habits and health have found that regular consumption of fish is associated with lower rates of AMD, cardiovascular disease, and possibly dementia. “We’ve seen data that eating foods with omega-3 may have a benefit for eye, brain, and heart health,” Dr. Chew, study author, explained.

Adam Ismail, the Executive Director of the Global Organization of EPA and DHA Omega-3 also makes some excellent points in this summary

Perhaps some of the greatest damage done by this study was the article published in Newsweek with the heading “Omega-3 supplements are a waste of money”. I find it unfathomable that a ‘health’ reporter would make such sweeping and inaccurate conclusions from one study. She’s wrong. She’s evidently unaware of the 3 decades of research. What’s most upsetting to me is that she has used her influence to do harm. Yep, to damage public health. There are people who need omega-3 supplements but I bet she doesn’t know who they are. Unfortunately, she’s not available to contact. I tried.


GretchenGretchen Vannice, MS, RDN

Nutrition Consultant

For more information contact:

EPA and DHA omega-3s may help people with regular headaches

Education, News

Background: Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are integrally involved with brain function and cellular health. They work in cells (e.g., nerve cells, red blood cells) but they are also the source of “ingredients” that make other important compounds. These other compounds have diverse functions in the body, some of which are related to managing headaches.

Study description: Men and women who reported having headaches that lasted more than 4 hours a day on 15 or more days per month were recruited for this study and then divided into two groups. Both groups consumed diets that contained limited amounts of omega-6 fats (e.g., from vegetable oils), but one of the groups also consumed high amounts of EPA and DHA omega-3s. Blood levels of compounds made from DHA omega-3 and the omega-6 fatty acid, arachidonic acid, were measured. The study lasted 12 weeks.

Significantly fewer headaches and less psychological distress was reported in the group who consumed more omega-3s but not the other group. Although these findings are ‘by association’, they support the need for more research to learn if simple and affordable changes in the diet, such as increasing omega-3s from fish oil, can help reduce headaches and distress.

General summary: Increasing consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 from fish while limiting the intake of omega-6 fats was related to significantly fewer headaches and less distress.


Reference: Ramsden CEZamora D, et al. J Pain 2015 [Epub ahead of print]


GretchenGretchen Vannice, MS, RDN

Nutrition Consultant

For more information contact: