Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fatty Acids Could Boost Brain Development

Recent studies add more merit to the claim that long-chain fatty acids can boost the mental development of infants and toddlers. One study found that the positive effects could be found all the way up to the age of 10, regardless of whether the children were breastfed or formula fed.

Two studies, one in Spain and another in the UK, found that polyunsaturated fatty acids such as DHA were linked to greater mental development in children. The UK study found that of 107 preterm babies, the group that received fatty acids in fortified formula or through breast milk exhibited significant cognitive advantages over the placebo group, particularly among the girls. The study completed in Spain studied 500 children who were breastfed for approximately 14 months. The levels of fatty acids in the mothers' colostrum were recorded and by the end of 14 months, the scientists found a positive correlation between fatty acids and cognitive development.

Formulas are often fortified with DHA and other polyunsaturated fatty acids due to previous evidence that they are necessary for brain development. Fatty acids naturally appear in breast milk. They are easy to add to your diet through the consumption of flax seeds, walnuts, soybeans, salmon and many other types of fish.

Does your infant receive some form of polyunsaturated fatty acids?

Can Fatty Acids in Breast Milk or Formula Make Kids Smarter? [USNews]
omega-3 fatty acids [WHFoods]