Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wham: Omega-3 Fatty Acid DHA During Pregnancy Provides Brain Boost to Children

The subject of Omega-3 fatty acids is heating up once again, as reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2007 edition. This category of supplement has just had non-stop press now for the last several years, and yet nearly 60% of pregnant females are apparently unaware of the advantages of adding Omega-3 to their diet through supplementation. There are benefits to both the pregnant mother, such as less potential depression and cardiovascular benefits (as well as a faster recovery after pregnancy), and now newly discovered improvements in mental and visual development for their children. Here's more detail:
Writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Michelle Judge and Ofer Harel from the University of Connecticut and Carol Lammi-Keefe from Louisiana State University state that this is the first study to look at the effect of DHA supplementation during pregnancy on the problem solving ability of the infant during the first year of life.

The researchers recruited 29 pregnant women at gestation week 24 and randomly assigned them to receive either a daily DHA-containing cereal-based bars (300 mg DHA/92-kcal bar) or cereal-based placebo bars. The women consumed an average of five bars per week.

Once the infants had reached nine months of age, they were tested using The Infant Planning Test and Fagan Test of Infant Intelligence. Children of mothers supplemented with the DHA-containing functional food had significantly better performance for problem-solving, while no significant differences between the groups was observed in overall intelligence.

"These data point to a benefit for problem solving but not for recognition memory at age nine months in infants of mothers who consumed a DHA-containing functional food during pregnancy," concluded the researchers.
Omega-3 fatty acids remain one of the true success stories of the dietary supplement industry, and despite a huge growth in sales from both cereal-derived as well as fish oil-derived supplements, a great future remains in store for these products. Another excellent article on the subject is linked to the headline of this post.


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