Mothers' DHA Levels Linked to Advanced Attentional Development in Their Infants
Martek Biosciences Corporation, a manufacturer of DHA, today commented on the results of a study published in the July/August 2004 edition of the journal Child Development. The study found that infants whose mothers' had higher blood levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) at birth showed more mature forms of attention during their first two years of development. These findings add to the evidence that DHA is an important factor in early development and that women who are pregnant, or intend to become pregnant, should consider supplementing their diets with DHA.
DHA supports an infant's brain and eye development. Reported studies have consistently shown that women's diets in the U.S. have one of the lowest levels of DHA in the world. Clinical studies have demonstrated that women who supplement their diets with DHA during pregnancy experience elevated DHA levels in their blood. One study, in a population at risk for preterm delivery, demonstrated that increasing DHA consumption during pregnancy was shown to improve outcomes by extending the length of pregnancy. The same study also exhibited a trend toward higher birth weight, length and head circumference of infants. Another study reported a 4 IQ point advantage at 4 years of age for children of mothers who had supplemented their diet with DHA during pregnancy and nursing versus those children whose mothers did not. Studies have also suggested an association between lower DHA status after pregnancy and the occurrence of post partum depression.
Martek's DHA, along with arachidonic acid (ARA), is currently included in infant formulas throughout the world and is the only source of DHA/ARA cleared by the FDA for use in U.S. infant formula.
"This research adds to the growing body of evidence that women of child bearing age should consider supplementing their diets with DHA," said Henry "Pete" Linsert, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Martek Biosciences Corporation. "Optimizing DHA levels during pregnancy bodes well for both mom's and baby's future health and mental outlook."