The brain is made from omega-3 fats, so these fats are crucial for development and maintenance of the brain and nervous system, especially in young children. Essential fatty acids have also been found to play an important role in memory, brain function, and heart health, and have been proven to help children who have behavioral and learning challenges.
This randomized, placebo-controlled trial followed approximately 1,100 pregnant women and 900 infants in Mexico. The women were supplemented daily with 400 mg of Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) supplements in the algal form or placebo from 18 to 22 weeks gestation through childbirth.
"This is a large scale, robust study that underscores the importance of good nutrition during pregnancy," said one of the study authors. "Our findings indicate that pregnant women taking 400 mg of DHA are more likely to deliver healthier infants."
The same team previously reported findings that show offspring of women pregnant with their first child who received 400 mg DHA during pregnancy delivered babies who were 100 grams heavier at birth and 3/4 cm longer at 18 months of age.
Good Sources of omega-3 Fatty Acids
Research Paper Details:
Imhoff-Kunsch B, Stein AD, Martorell R, et al. Prenatal Docosahexaenoic acid Supplementation and Infant Morbidity: Randomized Controlled Trial. Pediatrics, September, 2011.