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Omega-3 Fatty Acids – How to Help Your Child Become an Athlete Even Before Birth

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A new study from the Netherlands shows that expectant mothers who consume higher amounts of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) have children with improved motor skills later in life.
Dutch scientists followed over 300 children for seven years and compared their hand-eye coordination skills to the amount of DHA measured in cord blood. The researchers found that infants who received more DHA in the womb did not move “more,” meaning they didn’t fidget or wander, but they did move “better,” meaning they were better able to move tying shoes, throwing a ball, using buttons and zippers, and using their hands in music and crafts. The study found that children benefited from DHA regardless of whether they were born prematurely and that DHA was good for both boys and girls.
Children who were exposed to more DHA in utero did not have higher IQs than children who had not, but by age 7 they tended to have larger vocabularies, spoke longer sentences, and scored higher on tests of language comprehension. In addition, mothers with higher levels of DHA during pregnancy were less likely to suffer from postpartum depression and recovered more quickly from childbirth.
The results of this latest study are consistent with several others. An American clinical research team found that babies who were given more DHA in their formula grew larger and heavier, had sharper eyesight and better developed language skills by the age of 3 years and 3 months. Another American study, also funded by Abbott Labs, found that 14-month-old preterm babies were more likely to talk when given a formula supplemented with DHA and arachidonic acid (the fatty acid found in eggs).
So how should expectant mothers get their DHA?
omega fatty acids
The foods richest in DHA are the two “F’s”, flax and fish. Linseed oil is particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids cold-water fish. There’s also some DHA in canola oil, soybean oil, eggs, and the organ meats that Americans are most likely to find in sausages and weeners (not that I recommend a regular diet of either during pregnancy). Two 100g servings of fish per week is sufficient if the diet also includes other DHA-rich foods. Algae, as you may know, is also an excellent source of DHA.
The most widely used DHA supplement is fish oil. distilled Fish oil does not contain any of the heavy metals sometimes found in marine fish. The new food supplement Expecta Lipil is also being tested for toxins. Neuromins, on the other hand, is the vegetarian alternative.

DHA is the most important component of brain tissue, so it’s not difficult to understand that adequate intake of DHA is essential for brain health. Just don’t overdo it. As little as 200 mg of DHA per day can make all the difference, and you can safely and inexpensively get that dosage without upsetting your digestion or your diet.

Thanks to Robert Rister

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