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DHA Benefits for Brain Health and Bright Children

DHA Benefits

DHA Benefits have to do with the fact that DHA is one of the most abundant fatty acids in the brain. Here it is required for normal growth and development of the brain, nervous system and eye.

DHA, also known as docosaxexaenoic acid, is especially important for normal visual and neurological development of infants and children.

(Photo compliments of Photopedia.com under Creative Commons License)

One study in particular, conducted back in 1996 by Werkman and Carlson, demonstrated that in premature babies, those receiving DHA supplements for 9 months had higher brain functioning than the babies who did not receive the DHA.

Another important point is that DHA is used preferentially by the brain, meaning that in the presence of other fats, the brain will use DHA first. The turnover of DHA in the brain is very fast, so it is vitally important to take a high quality omega 3 supplement containing DHA.


Pregnancy and Childhood DHA Benefits

From the article on salmon oil benefits that I wrote earlier, we have already discussed the benefits of DHA attributed to heart health, blood pressure, heart attacks, brain function and arthritis.

Feel free to re-read this article if you would like more information, however for the remainder of this web page, I'd like to discuss DHA Benefits as they relate to brain and neurological development, as I feel that this is sometimes overlooked when discussing prenatal vitamins with pregnant and lactating mothers.

DHA is a natural component of breast milk and studies have shown that infants who are breast-fed score higher on intellectual and visual tests than formula fed babies lacking DHA. Other studies have gone on to demonstrate that in healthy, full-term, formula-fed infants when their formula includes DHA they show an increased visual acuity.

So given all of this information, all pregnant and lactating mom’s need to supplement with DHA. In utero and the first year of life is a critical time that imprints your child's health – body and mind.

Mom's have you ever experienced the 'mommy brain'? This is a key sign that you need to supplement more. DHA will be given to your babies at the expense of your own mind and hence you feel like you can't remember anything.

So be sure you assist your infant (and yourself) in reaching his full intellectual potential by supplementing.

DHA Benefits beyond the first year of life

We already know that decreases in DHA in the brain are associated with age related cognitive decline as well as Alzheimer disease.

So why not supplement all the way through life and take the path to prevention?

For your child in particular, here is what you can expect in terms of DHA Benefits as you supplement:

  • Increased ability to focus and concentrate
  • Improving motor control and co-ordination (no clumsy kids!)
  • Assists in behaviour modification
  • Supports cognitive and visual function

Now what about the rampant childhood condition known as ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)? Do you think we would see a decline in this diagnosis if all babies and children's brain function was optimally supported?

I haven't seen any conclusive research to support this, but I would bet money on it!

Not to mention all the other cardiovascular, metabolic and anti-inflammatory benefits...it is a no brainer to add a DHA supplement to your children's chewable multi vitamin.

As always, if you have any questions about DHA Benefits, please contact me.

Yours in Wellness,

Dr. Lisa

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