This article caught my eye, as I do not like seafood, and have always been concerned that I am not consuming enough omega-3s in my diet. And, since I do not like fish, I am afraid to say, I do not make it for my family, and I know that my toddler can benefit from DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which is primarily found in fish.
The major dietary source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is cold water fish, which is not widely consumed by children. There is concern, therefore, that children may not receive adequate DHA and so might benefit from dietary supplementation. Vegetarians can get DHA from seaweed; others can also take fish oil capsules (there are some populations that should not use fish oil).
I first learned of the important of DHA when my son was born. DHA is vital to newborns and infants, as it "plays a crucial role in the growth and development of the central nervous system as well as visual functioning in infants." [UMM]. DHA is found in breastmilk and fortified formula.
I've also been noticing some of the milk, juice and eggs that I buy now includes DHA, which I tend to gravitate toward (regardless of price) since we do not get enough of this essential element.
The study, published in this month's JADA, found that DHA supplementation (via orange juice) of either "50 mg/day or 100 mg/day for 6 weeks was effective in increasing plasma phospholipid DHA contents of children."
According to Reuters Health, "...this is the first study...to show how effective such foods may be at increasing children's blood levels of DHA." This means that the actual short- and long-term health benefits of the increased levels of DHA are not yet known, and it is also not known if any health benefits would compare to DHA that is consumed not as a supplement, but from the original source (fatty fish).
I am happy to hear this research is being conducted, as there is speculation that an increase in DHA consumption can be a possible treatment for conditions including ADHA, depression, menstrual pain, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease and more.
For now, I will stick to purchasing DHA-fortified products, and will try to make more salmon steaks and tuna casserole (I learned that bluefin tuna have up to five times more DHA than other types of tuna). I do not want to be too excited, because many times when something sounds "too good to be true"..it is. But, we can keep watching and waiting to hear about more health benefits to DHA and other omega-3s.
Journal of the American Dietetic Association (JADA), April 2009
University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM)
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