Courtesy of Yahoo News, two new studies show that DHA and ARA significantly aid infant development. For those that don’t know, DHA stands for Docosahexaenoic Acid, and it’s one of the two omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils. Your body cannot create DHA so it has to get it from your diet (It can, however, produce DHA from other fatty acids in a very limited fashion. Click here to read about DHA synthesis in a previous post on Heart Disease.) ARA stands for Arachidonic Acid, which is available in a variety of foods, such as egg yolks, and it also easily manufactured by your body with the use of omega-6 fatty acids found prevalently in vegetable oils.
According to one study, “Visual acuity in the DHA/ARA supplemented group was ‘significantly better’ than the control group each time the infants were tested at 6, 17, 26, and 52 weeks of age.” Visual acuity is basically sharpness of vision.
The other study found that DHA and ARA supplementation “resulted in enhanced growth and higher Bayley mental and psychomotor development scores in preterm infants.” It also found that the weight of the premature infants were “comparable to the breast fed term infants in the reference group” and “also had higher mental and psychomotor development scores at 118 weeks.”
What’s interesting about this study is that Martek, the company that produces the supplements, uses microalgae as a source of DHA. For those unaware, fish don’t actually produce omega-3 fatty acids — They get them from eating microalgae. This study found better development in infants taking DHA from microalgae than from taking DHA from fish!
More from FishOilBlog.com: Learn About The Different Brands Of Fish Oil
This is the first time I’ve seen a study using omega-3 fatty acids from microalgae. Is this the wave of the future? I may have to change the name to Microalgae Blog.