Intelligence in young children is not influenced by omega 3 fatty acid

Jan 22, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Infant intelligence is more likely to be shaped by family environment than by the amount of docosahexoic acid (DHA), an omega 3 fatty acid, fed in breast milk or fortified formula, according to new research at the University of Southampton.

In this study, scientists followed 241 children from birth until they reached four years of age to investigate the relationship between breastfeeding and the use of DHA-fortified formula in infancy and performance in tests of intelligence and other aspects of .

The researchers, funded by the Medical Research Council and the Foods Standards Agency, found that after they had taken account of the influence of mothers’ intelligence and level of education, there was no relationship between the estimated total intake of DHA in infancy and a child’s IQ.

Dr Catharine Gale, from the University’s MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre at Southampton General Hospital, led the study. She says: “This study helps to dispel some of the myths surrounding DHA. We do know that there are clear health benefits to but DHA, which is naturally present in and added into some formulas, is not the secret ingredient that will turn your child into an Einstein.

“Children’s IQ bears no relation to the levels of DHA they receive as babies. Factors in the home, such as the mother’s intelligence and the quality of mental stimulation the children receive, were the most important influences on their IQ.”

, particularly DHA, or , are found in high concentrations in the brain and accumulate during the brain’s growing spurt, which occurs between the last trimester of pregnancy and the first year of life. Although this research has shown a child’s IQ is not influenced by DHA, previous studies have shown that a lack of DHA during periods of rapid brain growth may lead to problems in .

Explore further: Can YouTube save your life?

More information: “Breastfeeding, the use of docosahexaenoic acid-fortified formulas in infancy and neuropsychological function in childhood” - Archives of Disease in Childhood 2010: DOI:10.1136/adc.2009.165050

Provided by University of Southampton

3 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Maternal fish consumption aids infants in problem-solving

Jul 18, 2007

Pregnant and nursing women should consume fish or take supplements with the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, as a new study found that just a moderate amount of DHA significantly improves fetal and infant development of problem-solving ...

Omega-3 kills cancer cells

Apr 02, 2009

Docosahexanoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oils, has been shown to reduce the size of tumours and enhance the positive effects of the chemotherapy drug cisplatin, while limiting its harmful side effects. ...

Omega-3 fatty acids protect against Parkinson's, study says

Nov 26, 2007

Omega-3 fatty acids protect the brain against Parkinson’s disease, according to a study by Université Laval researchers published in the online edition of the FASEB Journal, the journal of the Federation of American Societies ...

Recommended for you

Can YouTube save your life?

14 hours ago

Only a handful of CPR and basic life support (BLS) videos available on YouTube provide instructions which are consistent with recent health guidelines, according to a new study published in Emergency Medicine Australasia, the jo ...

Doctors frequently experience ethical dilemmas

15 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For physicians trying to balance various financial and time pressures, ethical dilemmas are common, according to an article published Aug. 7 in Medical Economics.

AMGA: Physician turnover still high in 2013

15 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For the second year running, physician turnover remains at the highest rate since 2005, according to a report published by the American Medical Group Association (AMGA).

Obese or overweight teens more likely to become smokers

16 hours ago

A study examining whether overweight or obese teens are at higher risk for substance abuse finds both good and bad news: weight status has no correlation with alcohol or marijuana use but is linked to regular ...

Taking preventive health care into community spaces

17 hours ago

A church. A city park. An office. These are not the typical settings for a medical checkup. But a new nationwide study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research shows that providing health services in ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

deatopmg
5 / 5 (1) Jan 22, 2010
reference given not found. Who paid for the research?