Why DHA is Important in Early Childhood?
DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) is the keystone for optimum brain health in all ages. Researchers have learned that DHA promotes surprising brain health benefits in infants and teenagers.
What is DHA?
Stands for docosahexaenoic acid, it is a critically important family member of omega-3 fatty acids that is known for growth and development in infants. During pregnancy, it is important that the mother takes a minimum of 200mg of DHA daily for the healthy development of the baby’s eyes and brain.
Prenatal vitamins are not enough to intake a sufficient amount of DHA because our body produces a very small amount of DHA from the other fatty acids. This is why the doctors prescribe DHA supplements or foods that are rich in DHA like:
- Fishes low in mercury (salmon, herring, trout, halibut, and anchovies). 8-12 ounces of these fishes per week is a good intake for a to-be mother.
- Milk, eggs, and orange juice have a sufficient amount of DHA. Do not forget to check the labels before consumption.
Relationship between brain development and DHA
Numerous studies have observed the correlation between omega-3 oils (DHA) and overall brain development including visual acuity and cognitive function. The most crucial time when brain development takes place is the last trimester of pregnancy and the infant stage after birth (2 years). During this stage, the neurological development of the child is highly dependent on the intake of necessary nutrients, especially DHA.
The fetus cannot convert omega-3 oil into DHA which is why it is important for the mother to consume a sufficient amount of DHA in order to supply it to the baby. Since the fetus is totally dependent on the mother for DHA supply, if the mother has an omega-3 deficiency, the baby will carry the same and it is quite a task to fill in the gaps after the birth of a baby.
In general, DHA deficiencies fall by 30% when in the first generation but while succeeding to the third generation it might fall down to 85% if not take care well.
Low DHA increases Anger and Hatred
Low DHA levels are known to show an increase in anger and hatred reactions. According to the studies conducted on stressed and non-stressed students, DHA has shown its effect on them. Stressed students were the ones with a low level of DHA with increased anger while the non-stressed group has a sufficient amount of DHA. Also, it has been proved that hatred reactions are not found in children taking a high amount of DHA supplements.
After reading the article, one can say that omega-3 oil is a crucial role player in the child’s brain development. It is an essential factor for sperm health and pregnancy. It not just reduces risk of preterm births but improves the development of baby’s eyes and brain. It may also improve ADHD symptoms in children.
Pregnancy is the most important phase of a mother’s life because there are two lives connected to a string. If you suspect a low level of DHA, you can start by adding foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (mentioned above) or you can also add DHA supplements in your diet to fill the gaps.