Omega-3s Helps Cognitive Development in Children

Omega-3s Helps Cognitive Development in Children

Omega-3 fatty acids

seem to be popular these days, and there is a very good reason why:

they provide many benefits. Those benefits extend to babies, as a recent

study shows that infants given long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid

(LCPUFA) supplements perform better on standardized tests when they are

older. The study looked at the effects of LCPUFA consumption on

cognitive development. The researcher’s objective was to evaluate

cognitive abilities of children from 18 months to six years old who were

given docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) as infants,

compared with children not given LCPUFA as infants.

A total of

81 children participated in a double-blind, randomized trial of LCPUFA

supplementation. What the researchers found is that although there were

no significant differences observed at 18 months, from three to five

years there were “significant positive results” observed on

rule-learning and inhibition tasks. “The data from this relatively small

trial suggest that, although the effects of LCPUFAs may not always be

evident on standardized developmental tasks at 18 mo, significant

effects may emerge later on more specific or fine-grained tasks,” the

researchers concluded.

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Other research shows there are benefits to LCPUFA supplemented formula. A 2007 study

reviewed trials on LCPUFA supplemented formula in infants and found

that it has a beneficial effect on the neurodevelopment of infants until

four months old. However, the researchers concluded that “the studies

could not demonstrate a consistent positive effect beyond that age.”

Fast forward four years to a 2011 study

on the effects of LCPUFA supplementation on infants. Researchers

analyzed the effects of LCPUFA supplemented formula on infants born

prematurely who were given the formula from birth to nine months old.

The researchers followed the children for nine years, and found that the

girls showed “beneficial effects of LCPUFAs on literacy.” They also

found increases in verbal IQ, full-scale IQ, and memory scores for both

genders given the supplemented formula.

A year later, researchers published a study

that analyzed 19 studies involving 1,949 infants. What they found it

that LCPUFA supplementation had a “significant benefit…on infants

visual acuity.” They concluded that “current evidence suggests that

LCPUFA supplementation of infant formulas improves infants’ visual

acuity up to 12 months of age.”

Read more about children's health

Photo Credit: nettsu

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Andrea Donsky, B. COMM is an international TV Health Expert, Best Selling Author, Nutritionist Podcast Host, and Founder of—a recipient of Healthline’s Best Healthy Living Blogs for 2019. As a pioneer and visionary in the health food industry, Andrea’s passion is to inspire people to make healthier choices. Andrea has combined her background and expertise as both a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and an entrepreneur ("She Boss!") to educate the public on living a healthy lifestyle through the creation of her businesses, books, articles, podcasts, videos, talks, and TV and radio media appearances. Andrea founded Naturally Savvy Media Inc. in 2007 in order to share her passion for healthy living, and love for natural products and companies. Among her numerous publications, Andrea co-authored Unjunk your Junk Food published by Simon and Schuster, a book that journalist, author and mother Maria Shriver endorsed: “Unjunk Your Junk Food has certainly made me more aware about the food that my children eat and the effects it has on our body and mind."</P. Andrea also co-authored two e-books entitled Label Lessons: Your Guide To A Healthy Shopping Cart, and Label Lessons: Unjunk Your Kid’s Lunch Box.