Results of a recent study conducted at the Children's Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine affirm the potential importance of the intake of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) during early life. DHA is a fatty acid that is present in high concentration in the brain and retina. Because of this, it is thought that an adequate intake of this fatty acid during infancy may be necessary for optimal brain and retinal development.
The study was designed to evaluate the impact of DHA supplementation of breast-feeding mothers on the development of their infants. The investigators found that formerly breast-fed, 30-month-old children whose mothers received a DHA supplement for 4 months after delivery scored a mean of 8 points higher on a standard test of psychomotor development than similar infants whose mothers received a placebo. These results support the findings of an earlier Australian study, which suggested that DHA supplementation of breastfeeding mothers was associated with developmental advantages for their infants.
Good dietary sources of DHA include oily fish such as salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel, and herring.
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