Omega 3 fatty acids don't shape child's intelligence: Study

Omega 3 fatty acids don't shape child's intelligence: Study

According to the research conducted at the University of Southampton, UK, the fatty acid, or docosahexoic acid (DHA), don't contribute to the child's IQ growth, which largely depends upon the intelligence level of the parents.

"Children's IQ bears no relation to the levels of DHA, which is naturally present in breast milk and added into some formulas, they receive as babies," lead researcher Dr Catharine Gale, from the University's MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre, said in a statement.
"Factors in home, such as the mother's intelligence and the quality of mental stimulation the children receive, were the most important influence on their IQ."

For their study, the researchers followed 241 children from birth until they reached four years of age to investigate the relationship between breastfeeding and the use of DHA-fortified formula in infancy and performance in tests of intelligence and other aspects of brain.

They found that after they had taken account of the influence of mother's intelligence and level of education, there was no relationship between the estimated total intake of DHA in infancy and a child's IQ. "The study helps to dispel some of the myths surrounding DHA. We do know that there are clear health benefits to breast feeding but DHA is not the secret ingredient that will turn your child into an Einstein," said Dr Gale.

Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, are found in high concentration in the brain and accumulate during the brain's growing spurt, which occurs between the last trimester of pregnancy and the first year of life.

Although this research has shown a child's IQ is not influenced by DHA, previous studies have shown that a lack of DHA during periods of rapid brain growth may lead to problems in brain development.

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