Did you know your baby’s brain cells start to multiply at a rate of 250,000 per minute after four weeks of conception? It means your child's brain starts to develop from the womb and 85 % of the baby's brain development will occur by the age of five. As a parent, how to encourage your child's brain development?
According to research, DHA levels found in the mother have an impact on the circumference of the baby’s head at birth.
What is DHA?
Scientifically known as Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3), a special nutrient that is responsible for the critical developments in infants and toddlers. This Omega-3 fatty acid is the foundation building element of the brain and retina. Moreover, the development of the brain due to DHA influences some of the other positive outcomes, such as;
- cognitive thinking and boost in memory
- language skills
- Focus and attention span
- birth weight
- Increased IQ by 3.5 points
- Improved sleep quality and less likelihood of developing attention deficit disorder
- Improvement in symptoms of asthma, blood pressure, and allergies
- Reduced symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Protection against depression
Therefore doctors recommend for babies to receive DHA through breast milk as it is rich with various macro and micronutrients. Along with that, physicians often recommend DHA supplements after birth.
However, the DHA supplied to the baby through the breastmilk increases the DHA level in blood higher compared to the supplements. So, why do many parents still choose to add DHA supplements in their baby’s diet?
The underlying reason is the concentration of DHA in breast milk varies from person to person. Therefore, not every mother is capable of transferring sufficient amounts of this brain nourishing fatty acid to her child. Since the first few years of the accumulation has a lasting effect on the child’s development, supplements have become the alternative option for baby brain growth.
It is no wonder that DHA supplements are the ace ingredients of any children’s food that are available in stores. At least, the products from big formula brands all contain DHA, claiming it will make your baby super smart by boosting his/her IQ.
But many children experts find it contradicting as milk components vary across the population. The brands are trying to produce a composition as close as to breast milk. Despite that, how to decide which concentration is best for every baby. So, infants may end up having a low intake of DHA from a lactating mother as well as from the standard infant formula.
Do Women in India Meet the Requirements of DHA Level in their Body?
The DHA level of newborns depends on maternal dietary intake. However, compared to other developing countries, Indian diets are deficient in DHA due to the consumption of a high amount of vegetarian and vegan food. Furthermore, we use sunflower or safflower oils in cooking. These are high in omega-6 fatty acids.
On the other hand, most of the DHA resources come from fishes like salmon, trout, anchovies, halibut, and mackerel. So, there is a need for Pregnant women to follow a balanced diet.
Increasing the DHA level in food is not an impossible feat during pregnancy. However, a report by WHO depicts the terrifying health scenario of women in India.
According to WHO, a third of Indian women (of reproductive age) are undernourished. Furthermore, India ranks number one in the preterm birth rate. It's an alarming situation, considering that the low DHA level in the blood is one of the primary reasons for the premature birth of babies.
How much DHA a woman should consume? As per the expert recommendation, women must consume an average of 60 milligrams of DHA per day. However, during pregnancy, one needs to eat at least 200 milligrams per day. The demand continues to increase in the third trimester of pregnancy that brings massive growth in the fetus.
What to Eat to Get More DHA in Diet?
- As mentioned above, eat fish. Besides DHA, Fish has a lot of different nutrients that are good for you. For example, a lot of iodine comes from fish.
- Have sea Algae supplement in your diet. To begin with, the reason why fishes have such a high amount of DHA is due to their consumption of algae, which is the original resource.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty layers of cold-water fish and shellfish. So DHA is plenty in fish oil, such as a typical 1,000 mg capsule of fish oil provides 180 mg of EPA and 120 mg of DHA.
- Eggs are filled with minerals, vitamins, and good fat. So, few every day.
- Milk is nature's health drink, include it in your meal.
Are You Providing Sufficient DHA to Your Child? LifeCell Diagnostics Introduces OmegaScore-N!
DHA is optimally present in the breast milk of lactating mothers. DHA levels are, however, difficult to quantify because we obtain it from different types of food with diverse absorption patterns. Therefore, the only way to determine DHA levels in breast milk is to have it tested.
LifeCell’s OmegaScore-N is an in-depth analysis of breast milk to help quantify the DHA level that your baby needs for growth. Since there is a general deficiency in DHA level among the Indian population, OmegaScore-N is recommended for all lactating mothers.
In India, women lack the awareness of DHA diet and the right option to determine their DHA level before taking any action.
That is where LifeCell can be your trusted partner. With our OmegaScore-N, all we require is a drop of breast milk. This test is designed for women like you who are currently breastfeeding and want to monitor their DHA levels. The best part of this test is you do not require any invasive testing. And your test kit has everything you need. To know more about LifeCell’s Omega-Score-N Test,
Talk to our experts @ 1800 266 5533.
Here are some resources to know more about DHA and its importance for babies!