Recommendations for DHA supplementation from birth
Why is it necessary?
Neonatologists and pediatricians in the region, based on the recommendations of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), recommend the supplementation of 100 mg of DHA omega-3 fatty acids per day, from birth to the age of 2.
You have probably heard that DHA omega-3 fatty acids are very important. But did you know that DHA is crucial in the processes that take place during a child’s growth and development, especially during the first few years?
Daily intake of 100 mg of DHA from birth, in addition to supporting healthy growth and development, also reduces the risk of various diseases during adolescence and later in life, studies have shown.
DHA – for the proper development of the baby’s brain
The fastest development and growth of the child’s brain occurs in the period that includes the last trimester of pregnancy and lasts until the second year of life. In fact, during the first year of life, a baby’s brain grows by 175%.
The baby’s first smile, the first controlled movement, turn, giggle… all this is due to the brain and its intensive development.
About 12-15% of the total amount of DHA from the whole organism is found in the gray matter of the brain. Therefore, DHA is very important for the development of the brain, cognitive and mental functions, learning, concentration, attention and memory, as well as the overall development throughout growing up.
Newborns and infants who do not receive adequate DHA through breast milk and are exclusively on a natural diet, or are predominantly on a natural diet (mixed diet with over 50% breast milk in total daily milk intake) – a daily supplement of DHA 100 mg is recommended.
DHA – For eye development and vision function
The eye is a complex organ whose development is influenced by many factors. These factors can come from the external environment, but they can also be internal, i.e. they concern the supply of nutrients to the baby’s organism.
Omega-3 DHA fatty acids are very important nutrients when it comes to normal vision development, visual acuity and eye function.
The retina is made up of nerve tissue. It is the deepest layer in the human eye, which is photosensitive. The retina responds to rays of light that enter the eye and its role in the visual system is extremely important. All incident light rays that collect in the retina are transformed and transmitted through the optic nerve to the brain, which converts that impulse into an image.
This unique layer of the eye consists of ten layers. One of them is photoreceptors. DHA, omega-3 fatty acid, is one of the main building blocks of photoreceptors (35-50%).
The supply of DHA with omega-3 fatty acids is especially important during the first year of life, within the period of rapid development, for the normal development of vision, visual acuity and eye function.
DHA for disease prevention
Studies have shown that reduced intake of omega-3 disturbs the balance, which leads to an increased effect of inflammatory factors in the body, which increases the risk of developing obesity and cardiovascular diseases, studies show.
Due to the disturbed balance of omega-3 and omega-6, because of the modern way of eating, the European Food Agency recommends the supplementation of 100 mg of DHA omega-3 fatty acid daily, from birth to the age of 2.
Daily intake of 100 mg of DHA from birth and then 250 mg of EPA + DHA from the age of 2 has been shown to reduce the risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease in later life.
The use of DHA from birth also reduces the occurrence of allergic diseases, the study showed. Daily supplementation reduces the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections and common allergic diseases, including asthma, but also reduces the number of visits to the pediatrician due to illness during the first three years of life.
Based on all the above benefits for children’s health, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and, accordingly, European pediatricians and neonatologists, recommend the supplementation of 100 mg of DHA omega-3 fatty acids daily, from birth.
http://Hwang I et al., n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Atopy in Korean Preschoolers, Lipids (2007) 42:345–349