DHA and prevention of cognitive problems

 
 
 

During gestation, DHA accumulates in brain tissue (especially during the third trimester). After birth and during childhood, DHA levels continue to increase in the areas associated with mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and perform multiple tasks successfully (cortical areas). And during adolescence the increasing in DHA levels goes on, while the human brain matures.

Over the past 30 years, evidence from animal and clinical studies shows that normal brain development requires optimal DHA levels. Such studies have found that deficits in DHA during cortical circuit maturation are relevant to the causes and origin of diseases such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in childhood and mood, anxiety, and psychotic disorders during adolescence and young adulthood. And recent finding suggests that increasing postnatal dietary DHA intake can mitigate the emergence of psychiatric problems in youth exposed to low DHA levels during gestation.

The intake of omega-3 fatty acids in the typical Western diet is not optimal. The richest dietary sources of them are from marine sources, fish oil supplements, and some vegetable oils like flaxseed, canola and soybean; but omega-3 from vegetables must be converted in DHA and EPA by our body, and this conversion is not efficient.

Why to know that is important? Because, from the beginning, we are responsible for the nutrition of our children. So, from the very first moment we are responsible for their neurocognitive development. Since gestation until after… they become independent. Up to then, is our task to ensure their optimal intake of DHA.

 

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