By the Nordic Naturals Education Team
Getting kids to eat well can be a challenge, but there’s one time that mothers have complete control: before their children are born. In pregnancy, a mother’s nutrition becomes her child’s nutrition throughout this especially important period. This is the best time to create a strong nutritional foundation.
Why Omega-3 DHA Is So Important During Pregnancy
Many nutrients are important for healthy prenatal development, which is why pregnant women are reminded to eat a balanced diet and take a daily prenatal multivitamin. But some nutrients are challenging to find in adequate amounts, even in a normal healthy diet. One of these is the essential fatty acid omega-3 DHA, which is naturally abundant in many species of cold-water fish. DHA supports the healthy development of a child’s brain, eyes, and nervous system. 20% of all essential fats in the brain’s cerebral cortex is DHA alone, and the eyes have even higher concentrations of DHA.
Pregnant women also require omega-3 DHA. During the third trimester of pregnancy, when rapid fetal brain development begins, a woman’s DHA levels can become depleted if she isn’t consuming enough. Many physicians recommend DHA for pregnant women. However, they also caution pregnant women against eating too much fish because of developmentally harmful contaminants like mercury and other heavy metals that can accumulate in fish over time. This is why a fresh, pure fish oil supplement can be the easiest and most reliable source of DHA. Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA is the official prenatal DHA product of the American Pregnancy Association. It provides 830 mg total omega-3s (including 430 mg DHA), plus 400 IU of daily vitamin D. Vegan Prenatal DHA is also available.
Support for Infants and Young Children
DHA (and to some extent omega-3 EPA) also provides many of the same developmental requirements to infants and young children. In particular, DHA supports the healthy growth of the infant brain and eye retina, which continues steadily in the first few years of life. Research has shown that adequate-to-higher omega-3 levels during pregnancy and/or infancy support:
- vision and retinal development
- language performance
- motor skills
- healthy immune response to allergens
- mental focus
Omega-3s also support brain health well beyond the first two years of development. More and more research suggests that childhood neuro-development is supported by omega-3s at least to the age of five, and potentially beyond that. Research highlights the positive effects of omega-3s on intelligence, specifically.
For young children, the greatest obstacle to getting enough fish is preferences that change while they figure out what suits their tastes. Fresh, naturally flavoured fish oils are a healthy and reliable source of omega-3s for kids.
Nordic Naturals offers Baby’s DHA for newborns and babies. It’s made from 100% wild Arctic cod and provides omega-3s plus vitamin D in a liquid formula with dosages that can be adjusted based on a baby’s weight. Children’s DHA™ is similar (no vitamin D) but formulated in strawberry-flavoured liquid for ages 1-6, and chewable soft gels for ages 3-6. Like all of Nordic Naturals products, both Baby’s DHA and Children’s DHA surpass the strictest international standards for purity and freshness, so parents never have to worry about safety or quality.