Omega-3s for Healthy Babies

Posted on 01. Feb, 2010 by in In the News

Adding to the growing evidence supporting the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, a new study finds that omega-3s are important for a baby’s developing eyes and brain. Researchers gave 135 pregnant women either an omega-3 supplement or a placebo. The supplement was the equivalent of two meals containing fatty fish per week, the amount estimated to prevent deficiency.

After the babies were born, investigators performed vision tests to evaluate the infants’ ability to distinguish lines of different widths, which is a method used to evaluate neurological maturity in babies who are unable to speak. Researchers found that more girls had below-average eyesight in the placebo group than in the omega-3 group. In addition, increased levels of omega-6 fatty acids in the mother were linked to poorer eyesight in both boys and girls, suggesting a connection between an increased omega-3 to omega-6 ratio and improved health.

“During pregnancy and breastfeeding, fat consumed by the mum is transferred to the developing baby and breast-fed infant, and this fat is important for the baby’s developing organs,” says study co-author Sheila M. Innis, PhD. “For better health, it’s important for pregnant and nursing mums—and all of us—to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, eggs, and fish while minimizing consumption of processed and prepared foods.”

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