Daily Intake of Omega-3 Fatty Acids/Fish Oil (1gram,Twice) is Beneficial for Pregnant and Non-Pregnant Woman Too
When you're pregnant, what you eat and drink is the main source of nourishment for your baby. In fact, the link between what you consume and the health of your baby is much stronger than once thought. That's why doctors now say, for example, that no amount of alcohol consumption should be considered safe during pregnancy.
The extra food you eat shouldn't just be empty calories — it should provide the nutrients your growing baby needs. For example, calcium helps make and keep bones and teeth strong. While you're pregnant, you still need calcium for your body, plus extra calcium for your developing baby. Similarly, you require more of all the essential nutrients than you did before you became pregnant.
To eat well during pregnancy you must do more than simply increase how much you eat. You must also consider what you eat. Although you need about 300 extra calories a day — especially later in your pregnancy, when your baby grows quickly ? those calories should come from nutritious foods so they can contribute to your baby's growth and development.You should try to follow healthy habits from the time you are trying to get pregnant all the way through pregnancy. Do not smoke or use illegal drugs, and reduce or preferably eliminate alcoholic drinks. Talk to your physician about any medications you may be taking to see if they can affect your unborn baby. Eat a well-balanced diet .
Fish and shellfish can be an extremely healthy part of your pregnancy diet — they contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, and are high in protein and low in saturated fat.
Toddlers whose mothers took fish oil supplements during pregnancy tended to have better hand-eye coordination than children whose mothers didn't take the supplements, a new study found.
"Omega-3 fatty acids, commonly referred to as 'fish oil,' are essential nutrients for human health," said Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine. He was not involved in the study.
"Along with essential omega-6 fats, these compounds influence everything from hormonal balance to immune function," Katz said. "Omega-3s are taken up avidly by the developing eyes and brain of a fetus, and are thought to be important contributors to healthy development in early childhood."
Because of concerns about mercury in certain types of fish, fish oil supplements are becoming more popular, the study authors noted.
In the study, by researchers at the University of Western Australia's School of Paediatrics and Child Health, 98 pregnant women were given either 4 grams of fish oil supplements or 4 grams of olive oil supplements each day starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy until their babies were born.
When the children were two-and-a half years old, their growth and development was tested. The tests included tests for language, behavior, practical reasoning and hand-eye coordination.
Among the 72 children tested, the researchers found no significant differences in language skills and growth between children whose mothers had taken the fish oil supplements and those whose mothers hadn't, the researchers found.
However, children whose mothers had taken fish oil supplements scored significantly higher in hand-eye coordination, compared with children whose mothers had not taken the supplements. This association held true even after the researchers accounted for the mothers' age and length of time they breast-fed.
In addition, the researchers found that high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the babies' umbilical cord blood were significantly linked with good hand-eye coordination, while low levels of omega-6 fatty acids, found in many vegetable oils, were not.
"These preliminary data indicate that supplementation with a relatively high-dose fish oil during the last 20 weeks of pregnancy is not only safe but also seems to have potential beneficial effects that need to be explored further," the authors wrote. "Given the scarcity of data to support the efficacy of fish oil supplementation during pregnancy, our data have a potentially important role in informing on the effects of fish oil supplementation on early postnatal infant development," they concluded.
Katz said: "This study confirms that supplements of fish oil taken by pregnant women can influence the hand-eye coordination of their offspring. Whether that translates into long-term benefits in vision, coordination, or cognition remains to be seen. But the findings certainly hint at the importance of omega-3s to the health of young children."
It will take more research to clarify the optimal dose of omega-3 fatty acids, and the long-term health effects of supplementation during pregnancy, Katz said. "But we know enough already to conclude that fish oil from supplements is generally a good idea, during pregnancy especially. I routinely advise 1 gram, twice daily, of fish oil to my pregnant patients -- and my non-pregnant patients, too."
The most widely available source of EPA and DHA is cold water oily fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines. The oil from these fish have a profile of around seven times as much omega-3 as omega-6. Other oily fish such as tuna also contain omega-3 in somewhat lesser amounts. Consumers of oily fish should be aware of the potential presence of heavy metals and fat-soluble pollutants like PCBs and dioxins which may accumulate up the food chain.Some supplement manufacturers remove heavy metals and other contaminants from the oil through various means, such as molecular distillation (see above), which increases purity, potency and safety.
The fish you buy in the grocery store is either caught in the wild — an ocean, river or freshwater lake — or raised on a fish farm. The location may pose some slight differences in health benefits and risks. Though farm-raised fish have similar amounts of omega-3 fatty acids as wild fish, they tend to have more total fat and calories. They may also have higher levels of contaminants due to toxins present in the feed given to fish. However, farm-raised fish are more readily available and often cost less. Commercially harvested wild fish usually have harvest limits set by state or federal governments, which may make them more costly. Fish-packaging companies in the United States are required to label consumer fish products as "farm-raised" or "wild." In addition to purchasing fish in a store, wild fish may be harvested for personal consumption by sport anglers.
The FDA regulates commercial fish and seafood to help ensure safety. But fish caught by sport angling aren't held to the same standards as fish caught commercially. Each state is responsible for protecting its residents from the health risks of eating wild fish caught for personal consumption.
Check advisories in your area to find out what types and how much fish is safe to eat. If no local advice is available, the FDA and EPA recommend that you limit consumption of fish from local waters to about 6 ounces a week.