From: TOHOKU UNIVERSITY via EurekAlert
Published January 14, 2016 11:09 AM

Why does eating fish during pregnancy aid baby brain development?

Researchers at Tohoku University's School of Medicine have found an explanation for the correlation between eating fish during pregnancy, and the health of the baby's brain.

Dietary lipid contains fatty acids such as omega-6 and omega-3, which are essential nutrients for many animals and humans. The research group, led by Professor Noriko Osumi, found that a balanced intake of lipids by pregnant women is necessary for the normal brain formation of the unborn child.

In an animal study, the researchers noticed that when female mice were fed an omega-6-rich/omega-3-poor diet, their offsprings were born with a smaller brain and showed abnormal emotional behavior in adulthood.

This is significant because people in many countries these days have similarly poor dietary patterns and tend to consume more seed oils that are rich in omega-6 fatty acids and less fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Dietary lipid contains fatty acids such as omega-6 and omega-3, which are essential nutrients for many animals and humans. We found from an animal study the underlying mechanism of how an imbalance of omega-6 and omega-3 affects brain development and causes anxiety in the offspring. This may imply that a balanced intake of lipids (such as the regular intake of fish) during pregnancy is good for the healthy development of the brain of the unborn child.  CREDIT: Noriko Osumi

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