DHA the IQ Booster

DHA (DocosaHexaenoic Acid) also referred to as omega-3 fatty acids and AA (arachidonic acid) are nutrients naturally found in breast milk. The two have shown to support infant mental and visual development.

Some other sources for DHA include cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines, and plants like flaxseed or pumpkin seed and dark green vegetables.

Although researchers are yet trying to understand how DHA affects brain functions, including memory and learning and the optimal level required, they do know that DHA is needed for the cerebral cortex - the thin folded layers of the brain's hemispheres that house billons of brain cells.

According to a study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), infant formula enriched with DHA and AA boosted the average intelligence scores in a group of 18-month-old children significantly. The toddlers were given the milk from Day 5 to about 17 weeks of age. While there was no significant difference in their motor skills there was a difference in intelligence. Toddlers who received neither DHA nor AA scored 98 on the Mental Development Index, those given DHA scored 102.4 and those on DHA and AA scored 105.

The levels of DHA vary widely in breast milk from mother to mother. Those mothers who consume fish regularly register higher levels of DHA.

National Institute of Child Health