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Prenatal Omega-3s Linked to Improved Attention Span in Children

Omega-3s have been linked with improved cognitive function in adults, but new research shows their benefits may start even before birth. A recent study suggests that prenatal docosahexanoic acid (DHA) omega-3 supplements may help improve attention span in children.

Participants in the study included 1.094 women who were given 400 mg of DHA omega-3s or a placebo daily from the 22nd week of pregnancy until their child’s birth. The researchers then assessed cognitive development, and behavioral and executive functioning in 797 of the children when they reached the age of five.

The researchers found that there was no significant difference in general cognitive function or behavior between the children whose mothers were given prenatal omega-3s and those whose mothers weren’t. However, they did note significant improvements in attention in the omega-3 group, when compared with the placebo group.

Researchers from Emory University, National Institute of Perinatology in Mexico City, Georgia State University, the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico, and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on September 7, 2016, in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

DHA is one of the two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil; the other is EPA. Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including improved mood, improved joint mobility, reducing the risk of age related macular degeneration, and aiding your immune system.

Because omega-3 fatty-acids are not found naturally in the human body, it is especially important to make sure that they are a part of your daily diet. Oily, dark fish such as tuna and salmon are high in omega-3s. For people who don’t like fish, consider taking a daily high quality non-fish supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.

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