Omega-3 fatty acids are significant for human health and play a critical role in the development of the brain and eyes, particularly in newborns.
These fats are not produced naturally by the body and must be obtained through the diet. Here, we will discuss the benefits of Omega-3s for newborn brain and eye development and why they are essential for infant nutrition.
What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that is essential for maintaining optimal health. They are called essential fatty acids because the body cannot produce them independently, so they must be obtained through the diet.
The two primary types of Omega-3s are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These fats are found in oily fish such as salmon, sardines, and tuna and plants such as chia seeds and flaxseed.
The Benefits Of Omega-3s for Newborn Brain And Eye Development
Newborns need Omega-3s to support the development of their brains and eyes. DHA, in particular, is a critical component of the brain and eye tissues.
DHA comprises about 30% of the structural fat in the retina, and it is also a vital component of the cell membranes in the brain. The brain and eyes undergo rapid development during the first few months of life, and providing sufficient amounts of DHA through the diet can help support this process.
Research has shown that Omega-3s can also positively impact cognitive development. A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that infants fed a formula supplemented with DHA had higher cognitive scores at 18 months compared to infants fed a formula without DHA supplementation.
Another study published in the journal Early Human Development found that DHA supplementation during the first year of life was associated with improved visual acuity.
How Can Infants Obtain Omega-3s?
Infants can obtain Omega-3s through breast milk or baby formula fortified with DHA. Breast milk naturally contains Omega-3s, and studies have shown that breastfed infants have higher levels of DHA in their blood compared to formula-fed infants.
However, some mothers may not be able to breastfeed for various reasons, and in these cases, the formula can provide the necessary nutrients.
It is essential to choose the right baby formula for your child’s nutrition needs. When selecting a formula, be sure to read the baby formula nutrition facts and choose a formula that is fortified with DHA. Many leading formula brands offer formulas supplemented with DHA, which can help ensure that your baby receives the necessary Omega-3s for optimal brain and eye development.
The FDA and the Association of Pediatricians include iron on the list of the demanded ingredients of bottle feeding because of the high number of children with iron deficiency.
Omega-3 isn’t obligatory, so American brands don’t add it to their infant formula. Consequently, one should regard European baby formula.
Famous and reputable European infant formula brands are:
- Lebenswert bio
They make formulas from cow’s and goat’s milk for sensitive tummies and with different types of Omega amino acids, including DHA, EPA, and AA (Omega 6). Parents can get them at online stores without wasting time commuting.
Are there Any Risks Associated with Omega-3 Supplementation for Infants?
Omega-3 supplementation is generally safe for infants when given in appropriate amounts. However, as with any supplement or medication, there is a risk of side effects.
Some infants may experience digestive issues such as diarrhea or constipation when given a formula fortified with DHA. It is essential to consult with your pediatrician before starting your baby on any supplement or formula.
In some cases, infants may be allergic to fish or shellfish, which are common sources of Omega-3s. In these cases, it may be necessary to choose a plant-based source of Omega-3s, such as algae-based DHA supplements. Your pediatrician can help you determine the best course of this nutrient for your baby’s specific needs.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for newborn brain and eye development and are critical in supporting cognitive and visual function. Infants can obtain Omega-3s through breast milk or baby formula fortified with these nutrients. Unlike the American baby food industry, European brands make the required Omega-rich infant food. One can buy them online and get the parcel to the door.