Studies Show Vegetarian Algal DHA Is Positive for Prenatal, Infant Health

June 10, 2012

Results were presented in late May at the 10th Congress of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) held in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Studies looking at benefits of supplementing with vegetarian, algae-derived DHA omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy and infancy have shown positive results, according to results presented in late May at the 10th Congress of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) held in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Prenatal algal DHA supplementation-that is, 600 mg DHA taken from 14 weeks gestation until delivery-increased DHA blood levels in both the mother and the newborn, as well as increased infant birth weight, length, and head circumference, said Susan E. Carlson, PhD, from the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Department of Dietetics and Nutrition.

Additionally, results from another study presented at the event had found that prenatal DHA deficiency may limit infants’ development potential. That study was led by Kelly Mulder, PhD, and Sheila Innis, PhD, both from the Department of Pediatrics, Child and Family Research Institute at the University of British Columbia.

Another study looked the benefits of algal DHA supplementation during infancy. Led by John Columbo, PhD, the DHA Intake and Measurement of Neural Development (DIAMOND) study indicated that supplementation with DHA and ARA omega fatty acids from 18 months to six years of age provided cognitive benefits and found that supplementation provided developmental benefits evident to six years of age.

DHA accounts for 97% of the omega-3 fats in the brain and up to 93% of the omega-3 fats in the retina.

The algae supplements used in these studies is DSM Nutritional Products’  life’sDHA brand of DHA omega-3 fatty acid.