The Lack of DHA Affect Kid’s Brain

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Update Date 04/12/2019
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DHA is one of the unsaturated fatty acids belonging to the Omega 3 group, which is an important structural component of the membrane of the brain, directly related to neurotransmission. DHA is found in all tissues, but most in retinal neural tissue and cardiovascular pathways. According to scientists, DHA accounts for more than 20% of brain mass. DHA is also necessary for retinal neural tissue and visual acuity of the newborn. This fatty acid supports comprehensive development of the nervous system and brain. Low DHA levels may impact reading, memory, and behavior.

Strengthening IQ index for children, prevention of diseases related to behavior and cognitive such as intellectual disability, autism are benefits of DHA as well

Study on children from 7-9 years old

The first study to mention involved children aged 7-9 who had below-average reading scores. In these kids, low levels of DHA and other omega-3 fats were associated with poor reading, memory and behavioral problems.

Previous studies have also found children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and related behavior/learning disabilities are more likely to have low omega-3 fat levels that could benefit from supplementation.

The new study was unique that it looked at healthy children without learning disabilities, but with poor reading skills, and still found a link with low omega-3 levels.

Study on younger children

Studies on children from birth to 9 years old have shown that children who are breastfed and provided adequate DHA will have higher intelligence scores than normal children and vice versa. Manifested depression, lack of motivation, autism, unclear pronunciation, and behavioral disorders are some problems of children who lack DHA.

An experiment was carried out with a 9-month old baby whose mother had about 214 mg of DHA in everyday diets during the pregnancy. The researchers put the toy on a large towel and placed it on the table, then picked up a small towel covering the toy. The child solved the problem in two steps: first, she pulled the tablecloth, then grabbed the bath towel and looked for toys. With the child whose mother does not get enough DHA, the same test does not solve the same sequence problem at nine months.

As recommended by the WHO team, women in pregnancy or breastfeed stage need to ensure the required DHA (200 mg/day). However, the daily allowance of pregnant women only provides half the amount of DHA compared to the rule. If pregnant women do not get enough DHA during pregnancy, the baby will have a deficient IQ and will be at risk of mental retardation

In addition, studies show that for some hyperactive kids who do not focus on learning, the full DHA supplementation also improves the condition.

Symptoms of DHA deficiency

If children are deficient in DHA, they will have manifestations such as poor intelligence, difficulty concentrating, language problems (stuttering, unclear pronunciation), often suffering from respiratory diseases and allergies. As for pregnant women, there are signs of depression, loss of memory, forgetfulness, irritability.

DHA supplementation during pregnancy is extremely important for the health of the mother and the development of the baby. For mothers and babies to avoid dangerous complications, mothers should be provided with enough DHA needed.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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