Does Your Baby’s Brain Benefit From Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements Taken During Pregnancy?

DHA Molecule

DHA Molecule (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many pregnant women are advised by their physicians to include omega-3 fatty acid in the list of vitamin and nutrient supplements they take. The current thinking behind this is that increased blood levels of the omega-3 Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) when the baby is delivered will translate into an increased attention span that will continue to grow and develop into the second year of the child’s life. It also boosts visual development.

However, that belief is being challenged by a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that found there weren’t any differences in test scores for cognitive, language, or motor development between the children born to mothers who received omega-3 supplements and those born to mothers who did not. There only instance in which cognitive test scores were higher for children whose mothers received supplements was in 2–5-year-old children. The researchers didn’t feel these results were accurate because the two clinical trials that reported this outcome were strongly biased in favor of finding benefits from taking supplements.

The Australian team that conducted the analysis of omega-3 fatty acid on infant brain development performed a review of five electronic databases to find studies that evaluated supplementation of the mothers’ diets during pregnancy, or pregnancy and lactation, and that assessed either brain or visual development of the children. Ultimately, the researchers included data from 11 clinical trials that studied 5,272 participants. The amount of omega-3 taken by the mothers spanned 240 to 3,300 milligrams daily, and the assessment of the children’s brain and vision development ranged from newborn to seven years old.

Their findings led them to the conclusion that the evidence neither proves or disproves that omega-3  supplements taken during pregnancy increases cognitive  or visual development.

 

 

 

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~ by chasm63 on February 11, 2013.

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