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Improve Your Baby’s Brain and Breast Milk with DHA - Trilogy Medical & Aesthetics

Improve Your Baby’s Brain and Breast Milk with DHA

Who doesn’t want a baby with an intelligent mind? You can now ensure your child receives the nutrients he or she needs for brain health by eating a healthy diet that includes fatty acids – particularly Omega-3’s Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA).

An April 2015 study published in Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids (PLEFA) demonstrated that Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) supplementation impacts infant fatty acids that are important for brain development and breast milk fatty acid composition.[1]

Because research has proven that a mother’s nutritional intake does affect her baby’s physiological and neurological development, it should behoove her to eat well during pregnancy and while nursing. Since brain development is made up of 10 percent fatty acids, DHA is extremely important in the growing baby.

Importance of DHA for Baby’s Brain

According to the recent study, infant plasma DHA increased greatly at 67 to 71 percent when mothers supplemented with DHA for four to six weeks. Also noted in the 2015 issue of World Review of Nutrition and Dietetics are the beneficial effects of DHA on baby’s visual function and asthma risk when mothers supplemented in prenatal or postnatal term.[2]

DHA’s Positive Impact on Breast Milk

In addition, the study concluded that 200 to 400 milligrams of DHA taken for four to six weeks increased breast milk and maternal plasma DHA significantly. Compared with placebo, breast milk increased by 50 to 71 percent while maternal plasma DHA increased by 101 to 123 percent.[3] In addition to increased breast milk, the composition and quality of the milk was improved with DHA supplementation – especially when taken during the third trimester of pregnancy.[4]

DHA Foods and Supplementation

As part of the Omega-3 category of fatty acids, DHA must be consumed through food or supplementation. High concentrations can be found in cold-water fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines, and anchovies. Walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds also provide high DHA intake. You may even find it in dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale. An Omega-3 supplement with DHA can also be taken, especially if your intake of these foods is minimal. Make sure you look for a pure form of Omega-3 fish oil. Trilogy Medical Centers for Integrative Health also recommends a liquid supplement for those who don’t like swallowing the large capsules that most Omega-3 supplements come in. Be sure that it contains 200 to 400 milligrams per serving, and take it daily.

Summary

If you’re a pregnant or lactating mom, it would be in your best interest to eat a nutritious diet high in Omega-3’s DHA to protect your baby’s physiological and brain development. For those who don’t like fish, supplementation can be taken.

[1] Sherry, C., Oliver, J. & Marriage, B. (2015, April). Docosahexaenoic Acid Supplementation in Lactating Women Increases Breast Milk and Plasma Docosahexaenoic Acid Concentrations and Alters Infant Omega 63 Fatty Acid Ratio. Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids (PLEFA), 95, 63-69. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2015.01.005. Retrieved from https://www.plefa.com/article/S0952-3278(15)00030-7/abstract.

[2] Demmelmair, H. & Kolezko, B. (2015). Importance of Fatty Acids in the Perinatal Period. World Review of Nutrition and Dietetics, 112, 31-47. doi: 10.1159/000365427. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25471800.

[3] Sherry, C., Oliver, J. & Marriage, B. (2015, April). Docosahexaenoic Acid Supplementation in Lactating Women Increases Breast Milk and Plasma Docosahexaenoic Acid Concentrations and Alters Infant Omega 63 Fatty Acid Ratio. Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids (PLEFA), 95, 63-69. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2015.01.005. Retrieved from https://www.plefa.com/article/S0952-3278(15)00030-7/abstract.
[4] Nishmura, R., Barbieri, P. & Castro, G., et al. (2014, June). Dietary Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Intake During Late Pregnancy Affects Fatty Acid Composition of Mature Breast Milk. Nutrition, 30(6), 685-689. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2013.11.002. Retrieved from https://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/S0899-9007(13)00504-2/abstract.

Written by Dr. Jeff Lester