DHA: The Building Blocks of the Brain

Cecile LaRiviere

Posted on January 24 2017

DHA, found in Omega-3 essential fatty acid, is well researched and well known for its health benefits in adults and in children. In 2002 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the inclusion of omega-3 and omega-6 Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) in infant formula. Supplementation with DHA is especially important since this fatty acid is predominant in the membranes of cells in the brain and in the retina of the eyes.

One of the most interesting studies on omega-3 EFA supplementation and infants was done by I.B. Helland and colleagues, as reported in the respected journal Pediatrics in 2003. These researchers noted a sustained increase in intelligence and visual acuity at four years of age in children whose mothers were supplemented with fish oil from eighteen weeks of pregnancy to three months postpartum. But don’t despair if you didn't maintain optimal levels of omega-3 during pregnancy and breastfeeding: our babies and kids supplement is the perfect solution to ensure your child gets all the benefits of omega-3.

In a 2005 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, A.J. Richardson and P. Montgomery evaluated 117 children for three months. Children who received the fatty acid supplement showed significantly better progress in both reading and spelling than children who received the placebo. Similarly, active treatment was associated with highly significant reductions in ADHD-related symptoms per teacher ratings of the children’s behavior.

In addition to Omega-3 DHA, a growing body of research supports initial findings that lutein is an important nutrient for brain function throughout all stages of life. It is the super nutrient that can boost the brain. From protecting the developing infant brain to supporting cognitive function in adults, lutein - known for supporting eye health - also enhances cognitive skills. The greater proportion of lutein in the infant brain suggest a need for lutein during neural development which may provide antioxidant protection for the brain, which is prone to oxidative stress, and provides a neuroprotective function in the brain.

Matthew J. Kuchan, PhD, a discovery scientist and the global science lead for Abbott’s partnership with the Center for Nutrition, Learning, and Memory (CNLM) at the University of Illinois, says:
Increased levels of lutein may help speed up cognitive milestones in infants. These cognitive milestones could include an infant making eye contact with a parent, moving their head to look at something in their peripheral vision, or turning their attention to someone when they hear their name.

Lutein: Internal Sunglasses to Protect the Eyes

Nearly every source of light, whether natural or artificial, emits harmful blue light. The growing prevalence of digital devices like computers, tablets and smartphones is exposing people to more blue light than ever before. In addition to blue light from digital devices, the use of light emitting diodes (LED) in indoor lighting is another growing source of blue light exposure. LED bulbs emit about 35% of their energy as blue light, compared to 3% in traditional incandescent bulbs. In North America alone, LED lighting represented a $4.8 billion market in 2012 and is expected to reach $42 billion by 2019. As the concern for blue light exposure grows, parents can stay ahead of the blue light trend by offering their children the eye protection they need.

Lutein and zeaxanthin cannot be synthesized in the body and must be acquired through dietary sources such as fruit and vegetables like spinach and kale.

The distinction between esterified and unesterified forms are important since 93% of the foods that humans consume contain lutein and zeaxanthin in the unesterified form wheras only 7% contain it in the esterified form. Unesterified lutein and zeaxanthin are more readily absorbed into the body and are found in the human bloodstream as well as organs of the human body.

Our kiddieMED omega-3 product contains Lutein with credible scientific evidence regarding the bioavailability to ensure our consumers are getting the highest quality ingredients possible. Introduced in 1994, FloraGLO® Lutein was the first commercially available lutein ingredient. Since that time, FloraGLO® has been used in more human clinical trials than any other lutein brand on the market.

Vitamin D3: Workers for Healthy Bones and Teeth

Early Childhood Caries is defined as the presence of one or more decayed, missing or filled tooth surfaces in any primary tooth in a preschool-age child between birth and 71 months of age. It is important to recognize that a child's teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they begin to come in. There are many aspects of early childhood caries: baby bottle tooth decay is recognized as one of the more severe manifestations of this syndrome.

Researchers who took a second look at a series of clinical trials conducted on 2,000 children in several countries between the 1920’s and 1980’s determined vitamin D — which we often garner from sunlight — was associated with around a 50 percent reduction in the incidence of tooth decay. The review was published in the December issue of “Nutrition Reviews.” The trials increased vitamin D levels in children by safe supplemental ultraviolet radiation or by supplementing the children's diet with a fish oil or other products containing the vitamin. The subjects were children or young adults between 2 and 16 years old and lived in the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Austria, New Zealand or Sweden. It is for some debatable unclear whether this is more than just a coincidence.

Dr. Hujoel said:

In the meantime, pregnant women and mothers can do little harm by realizing that vitamin D is essential to their offspring's health. Vitamin D does lead to teeth and bones that are better mineralized.

Bone is a living tissue that is constantly breaking down and being replaced. Throughout life, your body balances the loss of bone with the creation of new bone. Vitamin D allows your body to absorb calcium. Calcium is necessary for building strong, healthy bones. Without enough Vitamin D and calcium, bones may not form properly in childhood and can lose mass, become weak, and break easily in adulthood.

Even if you get enough calcium in your diet, your body will not absorb that calcium if you don’t get enough vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it is stored in the body’s fatty tissue. People normally get vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, which triggers vitamin D production in the skin. Vitamin D is found naturally in very few foods. In the United States, it is routinely added to milk and infant formula. Other good food sources are egg yolks and some types of fish such as salmon and mackerel.

Convenience: Safe and Easy Delivery System

Freshness is key to fish oil and we’ve taken care of that for you: we have sourced a unique self-sealing bottle adapter that reduces the exposure to oxygen and keeps your fish oil fresh. The adapter also creates a child-proof closure, which prevents spillage and accidental overdosing should curious little hands get hold of her favorite supplement. An additional bonus of this closure system is leak-free traveling. And because our syringes are never immersed in the fish oil, you eliminate the risk of cross-contamination that is present in most children’s fish oil products that make use of droppers, and dosage lines never fade due to oil immersion. In addition, our dosage lines are calibrated to ensure that even the smallest dosing needs are accurate. Our neo-med syringes are used in neonatal hospitals across North America due to their accuracy and safety components.

Quality: 3rd Party Tested for Purity and Safety

Our kiddieMED products use ingredients that are certified non-GMO by the International GMO Evaluation and Notification Program (IGEN™). IGEN™ is the first formal international certification program that tests finished products, and the ingredients to determine if genetic engineering is present in, or was used in the production of the product. Reports of every batch are available on demand by locating the lot number on the bottle and visiting www.igenprogram.com .

Fish oil is prone to oxidation because it is made up mainly of fats. The only way to make sure the fish oil that makes its way from the ocean through to manufacturing, and finally into your bottle is to test the ingredients as well as the final fish oil product before it makes its way into your home. We verify that our fish oil will not become spoiled before its expiry date by testing it against the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS™) for peroxide, anisidine, and total oxidation.   Read more about IFOS here.

Due to the addition of lutein, our products are tested using a new methodology called True Anisidine Value (TAV). Read more about TAV here . In addition to these tests, IFOS certified products are tested for purity and radiation and all measures must meet each minimum allowance of multiple industry and global organizations standards to receive a 5-star rating. Our products carry a 5-star rating and reports of every batch is available on demand by locating the lot number on the bottle and visiting www.ifosprogram.com .

Delicious: A Tasty Struggle-Free Treat

Great taste and smell were certainly not last on our list of “must haves” during development. With little ones, you need to pick your battles! We don’t think that ensuring good nutrition should be one of them. Infants and children universally show a preference for sweet foods. This preference helps them consume needed calories, while their rejection for bitterness helps them avoid ingesting anything poisonous. When the taste receptors on a baby’s tongue signal to the brain they are eating something sweet, it triggers a release of dopamine. Our Baby’s and Kids’ Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements are developed to be naturally delicious, with sweetness derived from monk fruit; a simple reward system for daily compliance of omega-3 essential fatty acid. A tasty struggle free treat for the most discerning taste buds. Go ahead, try for yourself, it’s delicious for adults too. You will experience a surprise burst of flavor that creeps in a few second after dosing that will leave you and your little one asking for more.

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