Results of clinical trials have concluded that algal DHA supplementation during pregnancy benefits both mother and newborn.
The studies were presented this week at the 10th Congress of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) - an international scientific society focused on research of dietary fats, oils and lipids.
Benefits of Algal DHA During Pregnancy
Research presented by Susan E. Carlson, PhD, at the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition at the University of Kansas Medical Center indicated that prenatal algal DHA supplementation (600 mg of DHA from 14 weeks gestation until delivery) increased DHA blood levels in both the mother and newborn, as well as infant birth weight, length and head circumference.
Additionally, results presented from a study led by Kelly Mulder, PhD, and Sheila Innis, PhD, both from the Department of Pediatrics, Child and Family Research Institute at the University of British Columbia, suggest that DHA deficiency during pregnancy may limit infants' development potential.
Benefits of Algal DHA During Infancy
John Colombo, PhD, presented data from the DHA Intake and Measurement of Neural Development (DIAMOND) clinical trial, which investigated whether DHA and ARA supplemented infant formula affects children's cognitive performance from 18 months to six years of age. Results from the study indicated that DHA and ARA supplementation provided developmental benefits evident to six years of age.
The Importance of DHA Throughout Life
DHA is a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid found throughout the body. It is a major structural fat in the brain and retina, accounting for up to 97 percent of the omega-3 fats in the brain and up to 93 percent of the omega-3 fats in the retina. Numerous studies confirm that everyone, from infants to adults, benefits from an adequate supply of DHA. Throughout every stage of life, DHA is proven to be important for brain and eye health.