How To Get More Dha If Youre Pregnant
Even if you are taking a prenatal vitamin containing DHA, you might still be concerned that you arent consuming enough DHA for the health of you and your baby. Thankfully, DHA can also be found naturally in many foods that are safe to consume during pregnancy. However, if you arent sure if you should eat a certain food while pregnant, you should always check with your OB/GYN before adding any new foods into your diet.
Dha Supplementation During Pregnancy: How Much Is Enough
Are the current recommendations for DHA supplementation during pregnancy adequate? Research presented at the 7th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition suggests a higher intake may be more beneficial.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the 7th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition .
ICVN happens every five years and its a time for researchers, scientists, and others interested in vegetarian nutrition and lifestyle to gather and discuss the latest scientific breakthroughs in the field.
It was the first time Id attended the Congress, and I was eating up all of the interesting information shared.
One of the most interesting presentations I attended was on prenatal DHA supplementation. DHA is an important nutrient for everyone, but especially for pregnant women and those following vegan/vegetarian diets.
Today Im going to share with you my top five takeaways from the Congress, including what I learned about the latest research on DHA and pregnancy!
Dietary Recommendations For Omega
Optimal fetal neurodevelopment is dependent on many essential nutrients, including DHA and EPA, which can only be obtained from dietary sources.3 The richest sources of these omega-3 fatty acids are marine sources, such as seafood and fish oil supplements.10 Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as flax seed oil and vegetable oils, however, contain ALA that needs to be converted to longer-chain EPA and DHA to become biologically useful.
In 2004, the FDA advised all pregnant women to limit seafood consumption to 340 g per week to limit fetal exposure to trace amounts of neurotoxins.4 This recommendation was later adopted by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists .11 This amount of fish would provide approximately 200 mg of DHA per day.12 Alternate sources of DHA include fish oil capsules, which provide variable amounts of DHA , and are low in contaminants such as mercury. Many prenatal vitamins contain up to 200 to 300 mg of DHA. DHA-enriched eggs are another source of omega-3 fatty acids and may contain up to 150 mg of DHA per egg.
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Benefits Of Fish Oil Omega
Research has shown that taking the right amount of omega-3 brings health benefits in supporting normal brain and eye development of the foetus. Taking fish oil supplements in pregnancy may also have enormous long-term impact on children a recent study¹ showed that women who took a fish oil supplement in pregnancy had healthier children right up until the 6th year after birth. The children had stronger bones and muscle mass and lower rates of obesity. Omega-3 is also really important in the production of breast milk postnatally.
Dha Is An Omega Fatty Acid
Docosahexaenoic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid and is considered to be an essential fat. Potential benefits of DHA include supported heart health, improved vision, and reduced inflammatory response.
Getting enough DHA is also essential for brain development and general fetal development during your pregnancy, so many doctors recommend taking a DHA supplement or prenatal vitamins before, during, and even after your pregnancy.
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Choosing Iwi Life For Your Dha Supplements
We know that you care about your health and the health of your baby. You want to do whats right for you and your little one, and it can be overwhelming to know what to do since there is so much information out there.
At iwi life, we focus on you. We know how to help you, so we keep it simple with our supplements that are designed with your benefit in mind.
We pride ourselves in full transparency because we believe in what we do and because not only do we care about your health, we care about the health of our planet. That means creating products that feed and protect the planet.
Our commitment to sustainable sourcing, farming, and distribution has allowed us to see different opportunities to take care of you and our global community.
Not only do we make products that benefit everyone, no matter their sex or age, but we also are dedicated to making sure you have the information you need to support yourself and your family.
We plan on achieving these goals by making our products widely available to our global community. We are dedicated to helping everyone with their wellness goals whether its helping your cholesterol, brain, eyes, heart, or any of your systems iwi life is here to see it through.
Can You Take Dha With Prenatal Vitamins
Not all supplements include omega-3 DHA, and that is okay! If you find or are taking a prenatal supplement that doesnt include DHA, you can safely add a DHA supplement to your daily intake. We recommend asking your health care provider if an additional DHA supplement is needed.
We know it may not be irritating to take several supplements to get your daily nutritional intake. Thats why we created our Complete Prenatal with DHA in one single formula.
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Can I Take 1000mg Of Fish Oil While Pregnant
If you are interested in beginning to take fish oils, you should know that the Food and Drug Administration advises against exceeding the daily maximum dosage of 3,000 milligrams of fish oil. It is recommended by the American Pregnancy Association that pregnant women and women who are nursing ingest between 500 and 1000 mg of fish oil per day, with at least 300 mg of that amount being DHA.
Is Epa A Folic Acid
PNV105-iron-FA-om3-dha-epa is the generic name for this product. Additionally, iron and folic acid are found in this multi-purpose product. Folic acid should be consumed in sufficient quantities on a daily basis by women of reproductive age, either through the food or dietary supplements, in order to avoid neural tube abnormalities in the growing fetus.
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What Happens If I Dont Take Dha Supplementation During Pregnancy
Inadequate DHA during pregnancy can affect infant development. It can lead to problems with infant visual acuity and cognitive development. It can also result in preterm infants and low birth weight infants. In other words, DHA deficiency in pregnant women can have undesirable pregnancy and neurodevelopmental outcomes.
This is because docosahexaenoic acid is involved in many vital biological processes such as immune system function, inflammatory response, formation of new blood vessels, cell growth, nerve signal conduction, and a host of other processes that affect infant development.
DHA deficiency during pregnancy can have long-lasting effects. Otherwise, healthy pregnant women who do not get adequate amounts of this essential fatty acid, especially in the third trimester, can put their infant at increased risk of cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory disorders, mental stress, and behavioral changes later in life. If dietary DHA intake is not sufficient, a DHA supplement during pregnancy can provide more DHA and significantly reduce these risks.
It is worth noting that based on animal studies, a poor infant DHA status can result in visual and developmental deficits, and these deficits cannot be corrected with postnatal DHA supplementation. Thats why it is important to provide sufficient docosahexaenoic acid to the developing baby through prenatal supplementation throughout the pregnancy.
Why Is Dha Important During Pregnancy
Docosahexaenoic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid that plays a critical role in every cell in your body. More specifically, your brain, skin, and eyes rely on adequate DHA levels for optimal health.
Your body cannot make DHA in significant amounts, so dietary sources or supplemental DHA is often recommended during pregnancy.
- brain development
Godfrey says getting adequate DHA can also help:
- prevent preterm labor
- ensure a healthy birth weight
- support a mothers mood during the postpartum period
According to Sherry Ross, MD, an OB-GYN and womens health expert at Providence Saint Johns Health Center, the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, are thought to provide the majority of the health benefits.
But DHA is the most prevalent fat in our brain and may influence the development of cognitive abilities including the attention span in infants, Ross explains.
What Can Women Do To Reduce Their Risk Of Having A Preterm Birth
Dr. Finn suggests that women can first make sure they have adequate DHA intake prior to becoming pregnant. Recent clinical trials have demonstrated that women with low DHA blood status early in pregnancy have a higher risk of preterm birth compared to those with adequate status. 18, 19, 20 Women of childbearing age especially those trying to get pregnant should consider DHA supplementation in the range of 250-600mg per day, which is consistent with expert recommendations and population level findings. 21, 22
Second, Dr. Finn advises that all pregnant women should take a prenatal supplement with at least 450-600mg DHA. 23, 24 The European Food Safety Authority recommends 450mg DHA plus EPA per day for pregnant women, but this recommendation is not specific to preterm birth risk reduction. 25 Most trials linking DHA intake with reduced preterm birth risk used doses somewhat higher than what is currently recommended. While the latest studies reported that even higher levels of 800-1000mg of DHA were effective, especially for women with low baseline DHA status. 26, 27
If a blood test or diet questionnaire confirms that an expectant mother has low omega-3 status or intake, she should consider an even higher dose of 1000mg DHA per day.
Should You Take Fish Oil During Pregnancy
Omega-3 supplements are sometimes recommended, especially if your diet doesn’t include fish. Ask your practitioner about pregnancy-safe, mercury-free DHA supplements, and check, too, to see whether your prenatal vitamin already contains them. Many prenatal vitamins have 200 to 300 mg of DHA already, so it’s especially important to speak with your practitioner before adding additional supplements to the mix.
If you’re not a fan of the fishy aftertaste, you can look for a vegetarian or vegan alternative. Krill oil, from tiny shrimp-like sea creatures, and algae oil, considered a vegetarian source, can supply what you need just as well as fish oil. Avoid cod-liver oil as a source of omega-3s, because it may contain too much vitamin A for pregnant women.
As with all vitamins and supplements in pregnancy, you should never take anything without first discussing it with your practitioner.
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How Much Dha Should Be In A Prenatal Vitamin
Every prenatal vitamin is different. Always check the label and make sure it contains the ingredients suitable for you, your body, and your growing baby.
The daily recommendation by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for pregnant and lactating moms is at least 200 mg. A prenatal vitamin doesnt necessarily need to contain all 200 mg. However, DHA should be one of the nutrients in your prenatal.
Alternatively, there are no known long-term side effects of decreased DHA intake during pregnancy. Research is limited regarding pregnant women, but it is suggested that decreased DHA during pregnancy may compromise fetal growth. We recommend taking good prenatal vitamins with DHA.
What Is Dha In Prenatals
DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid. Its a long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid.
About 40 years ago, researchers started investigating the wide range of DHA health benefits. The beginning research on DHA found its cardioprotective benefits to be promising. Since then, experts have uncovered more ways that it can promote healthier lives, including DHA for pregnancy.
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What Foods Are High In Dha
Minerals, nutrients, and vitamins are important aspects for your body to make a baby. You are most likely doing your best to maintain a well-balanced diet and taking a prenatal vitamin before and during pregnancy. One nutrient that is commonly overlooked during pregnancy is DHA. DHA is an important omega-3 that plays an important role in both you and your developing baby. Here are the benefits of taking a prenatal vitamin with DHA for both you and your baby.
Is Docosahexaenoic Acid Safe During Pregnancy
Docosahexaenoic acid intake is not only safe but essential for pregnant women to ensure healthy brain development in the fetus as well as during the first two years of life.
However, surveys show that maternal DHA intake is insufficient among many pregnant women in the United States. Specifically, women who do not eat seafood and fish tend not to get enough omega-3 fatty acids through their diet. Such pregnant women need DHA supplements to maintain a healthy fatty acid status. Maternal DHA status in pregnant women can be maintained with docosahexaenoic acid supplementation.
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What Foods Contain Omega
Fish, as the name suggests, is the best source of omega-3 particularly cold water fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies and herring. However, in pregnancy we are cognisant of the amount of mercury in fish which is higher in the types of fish that contain plenty of omega-3. Pregnant women should have no more that 1-2 portions of fish a week. Other sources are nuts & seeds , plant oils and fortified foods .
The Benefits Of Omega
Omega-3s have been found to be essential for both neurological and early visual development of the baby. However, the standard western diet is severely deficient in these critical nutrients. This omega-3 dietary deficiency is compounded by the fact that pregnant women become depleted in omega-3s because the fetus uses omega-3s for its nervous system development.
Omega-3s are also used after birth to make breast milk. With each subsequent pregnancy, mothers are further depleted. Research has confirmed that adding EPA and DHA to the diet of pregnant women has a positive effect on visual and cognitive development of the baby. Studies have also shown that higher consumption of omega-3s may reduce the risk of allergies in infants.
Omega-3 fatty acids have positive effects on the pregnancy itself. Increased intake of EPA and DHA has been shown to prevent pre-term labor and delivery, lower the risk of preeclampsia, and may increase birth weight. Omega-3 deficiency also increases the mothers risk of depression. This may explain why postpartum mood disorders may become worse and begin earlier with subsequent pregnancies.
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Which Foods Contain Omega
The best sources of EPA and DHA are cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies, and herring. Many people are justifiably concerned about mercury and other toxins in fish, especially during pregnancy. For this reason, purified fish oil supplements are often the safest source of EPA and DHA. A high-quality fish oil supplement from a reputable manufacturer like Nordic Naturals delivers the health benefits of EPA and DHA without the risk of toxicity.
Many people think that flaxseed or flaxseed oil contains omega-3s. But flaxseed contains the shorter-chain omega-3, ALA , which is different from the longer-chain EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are the Omega-3s that the body needs for optimal health and development. While it was once thought that the human body could convert ALA to EPA and DHA, current research shows that such conversion rarely and inefficiently occurs. Fish oil is a more reliable source of EPA and DHA.
The Recommendations For Dha Supplementation During Pregnancy May Be Suboptimal
DHA, aka docosahexaenoic acid, is a long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid, and a member of our well-known omega-3 fatty acid family. Our body has the ability to make DHA from another essential fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid , but this conversion is limited.
DHA is only found in the diet in animal products like seafood. Salmon, for example, has more than 1000 mg of DHA per 3 oz serving.
Research has shown that DHA is required for optimal brain health, and is especially important for growing infants. DHA gives structure to our cells, provides energy to our body, and helps with inflammation, among many other functions.
According to theNational Institute of Health, the consumption of DHA in the US is poor. Average intake is 40 mg in children and teens and about 90 mg in adults.
Recommendations for DHA are currently set at a minimum of200-300 mg/day for pregnancy and lactation. However, some studies have shown that supplementation with less than 600 mg/day were not beneficial in preventing early preterm birth.
You can also aim to get your intake from fatty fish. This chart shows the amount of DHA in various species per 3 oz serving.
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When To Contact A Doctor
Pregnant people can discuss with their doctor, dietician, or nutritionist about what supplements or dietary changes they should make to keep themselves and their developing baby safe and healthy.
People taking prescription or over-the-counter medications or supplements should also consult with a healthcare professional before taking DHA supplements. They can speak with a doctor if they cannot tolerate DHA supplements or DHA-rich foods.