Fish oil in pregnancy doesn’t boost baby’s brain power

October 20th, 2010 - 4:37 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 20 (IANS) Taking fish oil during pregnancy does not reduce the chance of post-natal depression or boost brain development in babies, research has shown.

Many women take supplements including fish oil after there were suggestions it could improve the child’s co-ordination, brainpower and vocabulary.

Some studies had suggested omega 3 could also reduce the chances of post-natal depression, reports the Telegraph.

However, a new study has found no differences among women taking the capsules and those not, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Maria Makrides, nutritionist at the University of Adelaide, said a study of 2,400 pregnant women in five Australian maternity hospitals between 2005 and 2009 said rates of post-natal depression were the same.

There were also no differences in the cognitive development of babies at 18 months either.

In the trial, half the women were given fish oil capsules in the last three months of pregnancy and the other half were given vegetable oil capsules.

Makrides said: “These results show that recommendations to increase omega 3 fatty acids in pregnancy are being made without sound evidence.

“Despite the paucity of hard evidence, women are being recommended to increase their intake of fish oil fats in pregnancy and the nutritional supplement industry is successfully marketing products with fish oil, claiming they optimise brain function in both mother and infant.”

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