Fatty acid facts
Omega-3 fatty acids—essential fats that our body acquires from food and supplements—are integral to the function of our cells. The potential benefits of a healthy amount of omega-3s include a decreased risk of health concerns such as heart disease, arthritis, and blood clots. Now, new research is investigating their role in child development.
The new research
A 2023 study published in the Early Human Development journal examined the effects of prenatal supplementation of omega-3s on early child development. The trial divided participating pregnant women, who were between 22 and 24 weeks along, into two groups. One group was given a daily dose of 1,440 mg omega-3 fish oil supplements and the other a daily placebo supplement until childbirth.
The results? Promising
Although there was no immediate difference between the groups, over the course of three to six months following childbirth, the group that supplemented with omega-3s reported higher child development scores in milestones such as motor skills and behavioral/emotional development.
According to another 2023 study, published in the journal <Nutrients>, one way to reap the benefits of omega-3s is to take them in supplement form. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two key types of omega-3s, are often taken in the form of fish oil capsules or gummies.
You can also get more omega-3s into your family’s diet by increasing their consumption of certain foods, such as fish high in DHA and EPA like sardines, trout, and salmon.