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Does DHA help brain development?

Posted on: November 5, 2019, by Samantha

DHA is a major component of nervous system function growth and maintenance, and an important component of the brain and retina. The keywords of DHA are brain gold, smart and intelligence. Good mothers pay special attention to those things as long as it good for babies, but the fact that intake more DHA really makes baby more intelligent is true?

Many parents know that DHA is good and babies need to supplement DHA, but it is not clear how and how much DHA should be supplemented. But in fact, it is not only babies who need to supplement DHA but also for pregnant mothers, it is necessary to supplement DHA appropriately.

DHA
DHA

First, DHA also has these functions.

1. DHA has a positive effect on the neurological development of infants and young children. The Expert Committee of the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) supported the positive role of DHA in brain development in 2014. Maintaining the appropriate DHA level can play a positive role in the development of children's intelligence, behavior, fine motor, and other nervous functions. It can make the development of the baby's brain more perfect and is beneficial to the early development of an infant's nerve system function.

2. DHA promotes visual development in infants and young children. According to basic research, DHA accounts for 93% of the total retinal n-3 LCPUFAs. DHA can increase the plasticity of rod cell membranes and facilitate the flexibility of cell membranes, to better adapt to the changes of rhodopsin conformation. Clinical studies have found that adequate DHA supplementation during pregnancy and infancy is related to infant visual development, and has a significant role in promoting infant visual acuity.

3. Reducing the risk of premature delivery. According to a number of randomized controlled studies, supplementation of n3-LCPUFAs, fish oil and DHA during pregnancy can prolong the gestational age by 2.6-2.9 days, which can reduce the risk of premature delivery. The results showed that DHA supplementation during pregnancy could reduce the risk of early preterm birth and promote fetal growth moderately.

4. Some studies have shown that DHA may improve infant's sleep and regulate immune systems, and reduce postpartum depression. Other studies have found that seafood intake and DHA levels in breast milk are negatively correlated with postpartum depression. That is, moderate DHA level may also be beneficial to improve postpartum depression, infant immune function, and sleep patterns, but due to the lack of research, its causal relationship needs further study and validation.

How to Supplement DHA to Babies More Scientifically
How to Supplement DHA to Babies More Scientifically

Second, DHA has many advantages, should we intake it as much as we can?

From the above, you can see that DHA is essentially an unsaturated fatty acid, the human body can not synthesize itself, so it needs to be obtained from the outside world. When hearing it will make babies smarter, parents want to give their children more DHA supplements.

In fact, as long as we eat a balanced diet, rich and diverse, DHA is generally not lacking. Although DHA is in fact, it does not seem to have much side effects, but if DHA is supplemented in large quantities over a long period of time, it may make the baby fat or even directly increase the burden on the kidney of the baby, which is not conducive to the healthy growth of the baby. Parents need to make it clear that the more they supplement to the baby is more equal to the baby with more intelligence.

Thirdly, the milk powder already contains DHA. Do the additional supplements need?

This depends on the content of DHA in milk powder. At the consensus meeting, the Chinese Nutrition Expert Group proposed that the formula powder containing DHA should be used when breastfeeding is not possible or breast-feeding is insufficient, and the content of DHA should be 0.2% - 0.5% of total fatty acid. The EFSA Committee of Experts pointed out in 2009 that the addition of DHA with a total fatty acid content of not less than 0.3% in formula milk powder can help improve the visual development level of infants.

For expectant mothers, DHA intake should be increased as soon as pregnancy is discovered. The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) recommends that pregnant women and lactating mothers should supplement DHA+EPA 250 mg daily, as well as 100-200 mg DHA on this basis. The FAO Committee of Experts and the Committee of Experts of the International Society of Perinatal Medicine recommended that pregnant women and lactating mothers take DHA at least 200 mg per day.

In 2013, Chinese nutrition also proposed that DHA intake should not be less than 200 mg per day during pregnancy. The Chinese Society of Nutrition recommends that the daily intake of DHA should reach 100 mg for infants and young children. For breastfed full-term infants, mothers remember that breast milk for babies is the best source of DHA. As long as mothers' daily intake of 200 mg DHA is guaranteed, the baby needs 100 mg DHA daily, so the baby does not need to supplement DHA. For premature infants, the European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition recommends daily DHA intake of 12-30 mg/kg.

According to the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, premature infants with birth weight less than 1000 g: daily intake of more than 21 mg/kg; premature infants with birth weight less than 1500 g: daily intake of more than 18 mg/kg. The European Food and Security Agency (EFSA) believes that 250 mg of DHA should be taken daily for children between the ages of 2 and 18.

baby
baby

Fourthly, how should DHA be supplemented?

The best sources of DHA in food are fish and algae. DHA rich foods are: Salmon, sardines, tuna, yellow croaker, perch, cod, flatfish, shrimp, sea crab, scallop, seaweed, sea cucumber, and egg yolk are all good sources of DHA.

1. For babies who have already added supplementary food, some DHA-rich foods can be added to meet their needs. For pregnant women and lactating mothers, the Chinese Society of Nutrition recommended that DHA should be taken at least 200 mg per day in 2013. DHA should be strengthened by eating 2-3 meals a week with more than one meal of fatty seafood fish and one egg a day.

2. For breastfed babies, as long as the mother supplements enough, generally speaking, babies do not need to supplement DHA; for powder milk-fed babies, some milk powder already contains DHA that can meet the needs of baby's growth and development, but also need to pay attention to the fact that some milk powder for babies contains less DHA and may need additional supplementation. Only by filling DHA can it play its role.

3. DHA supplements should be considered when unable to eating enough DHA-rich foods such as fish and algae every day. The common DHA supplements are fish oil DHA and algae oil DHA. Fish oil contains DHA and EPA. EPA can dilate blood vessels and inhibit blood coagulation. Therefore, non-fish oil DHA is the best supplement for pregnant and lactating mothers. In addition, in GB10765-2010 National Food Safety Standard Infant Formula Food, the amount of EPA in long-chain unsaturated fatty acids in infant formula food should not exceed the amount of DHA.

Therefore, it is not recommended that infants eat too much food containing EPA, and the purity of algae DHA is higher than that of fish oil DHA, so it is supplemented to infants. DHA is the preferred algae oil DHA preparation. Finally, if you care about DHA when buying milk powder from milk markets, you should avoid those milk powder brands that do not contain DHA. You can refer to the article "Bei Mei Tong Heng Xibao Beixi and other dairy products do not contain DHA" specifically, hoping to help you avoid it.

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