by Kelley Herring
What if you could boost your child's intelligence and increase the likehood of good behavior? You can, and it starts in the womb.
The principle fatty acid in the brain is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) -an omega-3 fatty acid. While it is important to optimize levels of omega-3's in the brain throughout life for both mental and physical health, new research suggests it may be of critical importance even before birth.
During pregnancy, omega-3 fats accumulate in the fetus's brain as it grows and matures. Studies show that a lack of this essential omega-3 fatty acid during pregnancy causes:
- Defects in the way neurons connect to structure the brain
- Deficits in the transmission of in serotonin and dopamine
- Higher levels of anxiety, aggression and depression
In human studies, pre-term babies have less DHA in their cortex - the area of the brain responsible for higher brain functions such as thought and action - than babies born full-term. Pre-term delivery is also associated with slower cognitive development and more attention - related difficulties including ADHD. However, when these pre-term infants are given DHA, their cognitive ability increases.
Get enough DHA in your diet by eating wild fish, like wild salmon, or by taking a contaminant free supplement containing DHA and EPA like Carlson's.