News article

Smartness at school linked back to omega-3 fats in breast milk

Posted:  Monday, September 22, 2014

A child’s intellect may be shaped much earlier than thought - whilst in the cradle and not just at school. Evidence emerging from a recent study showed that the level of omega-3 fats in breast milk may be the strongest predictor of a child’s academic intellect. Omega-3 fats are mainly found in selective foods such as fish, nuts and seeds.

The study published online in the journal Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids found that kids fed on omega-3 rich breast milk had better test scores in mathematics, science and reading ability. The researchers arrived at this finding by comparing the fatty acid profiles of breast milk from women in 28 countries to the academic test scores of children from those same countries.

The study found that the levels of omega-3 docosahexanoic acid (DHA) in breast milk trumped both national income and the amount of money spent on a child’s education. In fact, DHA alone was responsible for nearly 20% of the differences in the reported test scores across countries.

However, in countries where omega-6 fats dominated the maternal diet, the cognition boosting effects of DHA seemed to be blunted. Omega-6 finds a way in the diet from vegetable oils like soybean and groundnut. When in excess, omega-6 seems to impair cognition by reducing the levels of beneficial omega-3 fats such as DHA and arachidonic acid in the brain. It may also interfere with the absorption of omega-3 fats.

These study findings thus emphasize the fact that maternal diet holds a key to shaping the brain capabilities of a child early on. It is therefore important to ensure adequate maternal nutrition to positively impact a child’s brain health.

For study details:-Click Here!