Fish-rich diet during pregnancy may boost baby's brain development

636731205045298564baby mum.jpg

21 Sep 2018 --- Regularly eating fatty fish during pregnancy could boost the development of an unborn child's eyesight and brain function, according to a small-scale study led by Kirsi Laitinen of the University of Turku and Turku University Hospital in Finland. Published in the journal Pediatric Research, the results support previous findings that show how important a mother's diet and lifestyle choices during pregnancy are for the development of her baby.

According to Laitinen, a mother's diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding is the main way that valuable long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids become available to a fetus and infant brain during the period of maximum brain growth during the first years of a child's life. Such fatty acids help to shape the nerve cells that are relevant to eyesight and particularly the retina. They are also important in forming the synapses that are vital for the transport of messages between neurons in the nervous system.

The researchers analyzed the results of 56 mothers and their children drawn from a larger study. The mothers had to keep a regular food diary during the course of their pregnancy. 

Fluctuations in their weight before and during pregnancy were taken into account, along with their blood sugar level and blood pressure. Other factors such as whether they smoked or developed diabetes related to pregnancy were also taken into account.

The levels of nutritional long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid sources in the mother's diet and blood serum, as well as the levels in the blood of their children by the age of one month were recorded. Their children were further tested around their second birthday using pattern reversal visual evoked potentials (pVEP). This sensitive and accurate, non-invasive method is used to detect visual functioning and maturational changes occurring within a young child's visual system.

Analyses of the visual test results showed that infants whose mothers ate fish three or more times a week during the last trimester of their pregnancy fared better than those whose mothers ate no fish or only up to two portions per week. These observations were further substantiated when the serum phospholipid fatty acid status was evaluated.

“The results of our study suggest that frequent fish consumption by pregnant women is of benefit for their unborn child's development. This may be attributable to long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids within fish, but also due to other nutrients like vitamin D and E, which are also important for development,” explains Laitinen.

“Our study therefore highlights the potential importance of subtle changes in the diet of healthy women with uncompromised pregnancies, beyond prematurity or nutritional deficiencies, in regulating infantile neurodevelopment,” adds Laitinen, who believes that their results should be incorporated into counselling given to pregnant women about their diets.
 

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Related Articles

Health & Nutrition News

A failing strategy? Gestational diabetes risk not lowered through reduced weight gain research finds

15 Jan 2019 --- Conventional ways to prevent gestational diabetes mellitus are ineffective and its appearance possibly depends on each individual’s health, according to a recent Pennington Biomedical study. The results found that moms-to-be who ate healthier and less, and increased their physical activity, developed gestational diabetes at about the same rates as women who didn't follow the same lifestyle. The researchers now believe there may be different types of gestational diabetes that warrant different approaches to treatment and prevention.

Health & Nutrition News

A fresh look at fiber: Nutrient holds “surprisingly” significant disease prevention role

14 Jan 2019 --- Higher intake levels of dietary fiber and whole grains are being linked with a lower risk of non-communicable diseases, body weight and cholesterol levels, according to an extensive analysis published in The Lancet. The research highlights the importance of carbohydrate quality in our diets, which may be particularly salient as low carb diets continue to trend. “We understood fiber to be good for us, but we didn't realize just how good it is,” study author, Andrew Reynolds of the University of Otago, New Zealand, tells NutritionInsight.

Health & Nutrition News

Mandatory fortification boost: Vitamin D supplements linked to reduced risk of lung attacks in COPD patients

11 Jan 2019 --- Vitamin D supplementation could reduce the risk of lung attacks in patients suffering from Chronic Pulmonary Disease (COPD) according to a new study by Queen Mary University of London. The researchers found that the use of vitamin D supplements led to a 45 percent reduction in lung attacks among COPD patients who were deficient in vitamin D. No benefit was seen for patients with higher vitamin D levels.

Food Ingredients News

Infant formula expansion: Valio receives Chinese export permit

10 Jan 2019 --- Valio’s consumer-packaged infant formulas have received an export permit from the Chinese authorities, which will allow the company to export its powdered infant formulas into China. The infant formulas are manufactured at the Lapinlahti plant in Finland, while the ready-to-feed liquid infant formulas are manufactured at the Turenki plant, in southern Finland.  

Health & Nutrition News

Alleviating digestion discomfort in infants: Arla Foods Ingredients develops new formula concept

07 Jan 2019 --- Arla Foods Ingredients has launched an “optimized comfort,” whey-protein based concept for infant formula. The concept contains a blend of alpha-lactalbumin and whey protein hydrolysates which aims to reduce gastrointestinal discomfort problems in infants. Such discomfort is said to be one of the most common reasons for parents to switch between formulas, according to Manel Romeu Bellés, Industry Marketing Manager at Arla Foods Ingredients. 

More Articles
URL : http://www.nutritioninsight.com:80/news/fish-rich-diet-during-pregnancy-may-boost-babys-brain-development.html