The Importance of Omega-3s in Pregnancy and Early Childhood

 

When I try to remember, I always forget. A.A.Milne, Winnie the Pooh

The brain of the foetus, and the baby for the first two years of life, is rapidly growing, with nerve cells dividing to form new cells, pathways and "organs", so the need for DHA is very high at this time.  There is scientific evidence that the conversion of plant type omega-3s, such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), poor at the best of times, is even less efficient in the immature brain.  Moreover, the supply of DHA to the baby at this critical time may be important for future brain function.

 
This makes it all the more important that the mother provides a good source of
DHA to the foetus and the baby, the latter not only during breast feeding but also after weaning.  We don't recommend that pregnant or lactating mums take cod liver oil, because of the vitamin A content, but we do recommend they eat oily fish once or twice a week.  If you are a mother who cannot abide oily fish, or a healthcare professional wishing to help such a mother, the obvious answer is to look to a fish oil supplement that does not contain vitamin A.  This evidence is now widely accepted in scientific circles and from 2000 onwards formula milk manufacturers in the US and Western Europe have included DHA
in bottled milk.

 
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