Prenatal fish oil no boost to baby's brain

An Australian study found prenatal omega-3 DHA supplements may not produce baby Einsteins after all.
Learn more

01.Fish oil no brain booster

Pregnancy vitamins on a table with baby dummies

An Australian study has found no cognitive benefits in children whose mothers took an omega-3 supplement during pregnancy. 

The study from the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) in Adelaide followed up the children of 646 women, of whom about half were given docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish and marine algae, during pregnancy.

Fish oil supplements are often recommended during pregnancy, and while there is not a lot of evidence for benefits, there’s also no evidence of harm. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists does not recommend the supplements in its current position statement on prenatal dietary supplements.

The children of the women were followed up at 18 months, with no effect found, and again at four years of age, by which time any subtle differences in cognitive development should have been be apparent. However, there were no significant differences in the ability to perform complex mental processing, language, and executive functioning (such as memory, reasoning, problem solving) between groups.

The authors conclude their data do not support prenatal DHA supplementation to enhance early childhood development.

Source: Makrides M et al - JAMA May 7, 2014, Vol 311, No. 17



Sign up to our free

Receive FREE email updates of our latest tests, consumer news and CHOICE marketing promotions.

Your say - Choice voice

Make a Comment

Members – Sign in on the top right to contribute to comments