More and more, research shows that omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA, in particular) play an important role in promoting cell health. Eating omega-3 rich foods such as salmon, flax seeds and walnuts, and taking supplements are two ways to receive the proper amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Research about omega-3 fatty acids has come a long way in showing how these acids aid in the development of the brain, nerves and tissues.
Now, new studies suggest that pregnant women who supplement their diets with high dosages of DHA omega-3 oils may also boost their infants’ immune system. The journal Pediatrics reports that mothers who took DHA supplements during their pregnancy had babies that appeared to be ill, on average, 14 percent less than children whose mothers did not receive a DHA supplement.
The study examined infants at one, three and six months of age that showed signs of illness, ranging from congestion to rashes. At each interval, children whose mothers took DHA supplementation showed fewer instances of illness. At the six-month mark, researchers found staggering numbers:
- 20 percent shorter duration of fever
- 54 percent shorter duration of difficulty breathing
- 23 percent shorter duration of rashes
“If women want to take it, it’s unlikely to cause harm in the overall picture of the babies we looked at,” the study’s authors wrote.
Associate professor Usha Ramakrishnan of global health at Emory University, who led the study, is also planning to follow the subjects for the immediate future, studying their long-term cognitive performance:
[We are] interested in the long-term implications, if these children grow better and smarter.
More and more, through continued studies and research, the necessity of omega-3 fatty acids are becoming more apparent. The introduction of these fatty acids at early stages of childhood development – even throughout adulthood – have been shown vital when promoting numerous areas of health.