Fish oils which are widely sold in a form of soft capsules are rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). This compound is believed to be good for the cognitive development of infants in the womb.
However, this assumption is disproved by the research of Dr. Maria Makrides from the University of Adelaide which involved 2,000 pregnant women. In clinical trials, some were given fish oil capsules and some others got placebos containing vegetable oil.
It turned out after the baby is born, there are no different levels of intelligence until the enter the age of 18 months. Similarly to the mothers, DHA does not reduce the risk of depression after childbirth (postpartum).
In an editorial accompanying the research report, Dr. Emily Oken of Harvard University said that scientific facts are often overlooked in the interest of business. Like the fish oil benefits which are over-promoted.
“In this case, marketing seems to be running ahead of science,” she wrote, according to the NY Times.
However not all experts necessarily agree with these findings. Some of them still recommend the consumption of fish oil to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
This belief is based on previous research, conducted in Norway, with a smaller scale in 2003. In that study, the benefits of DHA for a new baby’s intelligence will be visible when entering the age of 4 years.Tagged with: cognitive development of infants, Fish Oil, infant brain development, Pregnant Women,