The DHA/ EPA Omega 3 Institute, today (January 8 2010) released a summary that their research findings support evidence for a link between DHA and cognitive development in infancy and early childhood.
Titled: Maternal DHA Levels and Toddler Free-Play Attention
Kannas et al., Developmental Neuropsychology, 34: 159 – 174 , 2009.
Department of Psychology , Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Has the following summary:
The research team evaluated the relationship between maternal DHA omega-3 status at the time of the infants’ birth and the subsequent attentional functioning of their toddlers at 12 and 18 months. This research was of particular interest since DHA is considered to be physiologically-essential in neuronal tissue at appropriate concentrations to support optimal cognitive functioning . Further, DHA levels increase markedly with brain development during the first 2 years of life and continue to increase thereafter based on measures in the cerebral cortex up to 18 years of age ( Brain Res. Bull., 56: 79-85 (2001).
More on this study at this Link
The DHA/ EPA Omega 3 Institute points out on their home page that there has been a dramatic surge in interest recently, amongst the public and health professionals alike, of the health effects of omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish and fish oils - consisting of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) plus eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
DHA is required in high levels in the brain and retina as a physiologically-essential nutrient to provide for optimal neuronal functioning (learning ability, mental development) and visual acuity, in young and old alike. DHA plus EPA are both considered to have beneficial effects in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease plus associated risk factors as well as other chronic disorders. Whereas considerable amounts of the plant-derived omega-3 fatty acid known as a-linolenic acid (ALA) is consumed daily in North America (approximately 2 g/day), the physiologically-essential nutrient, DHA, is consumed at much smaller levels (approximately 80 mg/day) while EPA is consumed at the level of approximately 50 mg/day in a typical North American diet.
More from The DHA/ EPA Omega 3 Insitute
Northernaquafarms.com has recently updated its website section on “Seafood and Health” to include more information and references to research on the benefits of eating fish and seafood. From the reference materials linked above together with those referred to at Northernaquafarms.com it can be seen that Omega 3 alone isn’t the whole equation, rather Omega 3 that contains DHA/ EPA that can be readily assimilated by the human body is of more importance. Fish and fish oils have been proven to be one of the best sources of DHA/ EPA.
The essential fatty acids found in fish and seafood have become the source of nutrients used in augmenting other foods with DHA/ EPA due largely to a reluctance to regularly eat fish products. They are now being enhanced in or added to bread, milk, cheese, eggs, infant formula, gummy candy and yogurt.
More on this topic at Northernaquafarms.com Seafood and Health