DHA Produces Healthier Babies

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A new double-blind study that was published on line in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that pregnant women who consumed DHA (an omega 3 essential fatty acid) had larger babies, a longer gestation, and fewer preterm births.

In the study, 154 healthy women were randomly assigned to consume 600 mg of DHA per day during the second half of pregnancy and 147 women were assigned a placebo.

After the researchers adjusted for maternal education, socioeconomic status, prior pregnancy, smoking and other risk factors they discovered that the babies of the DHA mothers weighed nearly a half a pound more, were longer and had slightly larger head circumferences.  And in the group of mothers on placebo, 5% gave birth at 34 weeks or less, whereas among the DHA group, only 0.6% gave birth early. The lead author, Susan E. Carlson, a professor of nutrition at the University of Kansas, says that is a dramatic reduction in preterm labor as compared to the general population.

There were no side effects reported.

Most Americans consume too much of the other essential fatty acids (omega 6 and omega 9) and not enough of the omega 3 (which DHA is classified as). So balance here is key.  DHA is rich in sea foods and meat however I do not advise pregnant women to consume these foods in order to get DHA, as they also contain high levels of toxins (heavy metals and other environmental toxins that get stored in the animal fat).

I will often recommend the vegetarian source of DHA available on the market today, that is derived from algae. One easy way for a pregnant woman to be sure she has the right balance of essential fatty acids, including DHA is by consuming 1-2 tablespoons per day of Udo’s DHA Oil Blend while avoiding vegetable based cooking oils and packaged foods that contain oil, like chips and crackers.  Just be sure to keep the Udo’s DHA Oil Blend refrigerated and do not cook with it. Always keep it cold as the fatty acids are vulnerable to heat sources.

In health,

Dr. Gina

3 Responses to DHA Produces Healthier Babies

  1. Michaela E says:

    Do you have a capsule you recommend instead of an oil? Thanks!

  2. Michaela E says:

    Great. Thank you! I shared your article on Facebook. Exciting research! My son was born at 29 weeks and we hope to have a second child in a year or two. I’m currently taking a prenatal that has 250mg of DHA. Should I then take only 2 Mega Omega per day to reach 600mg?

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