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Healthy Eye & Brain Development for Babies

Healthy Eye & Brain Development for Babies

Saturday, March 29th 2003

Eating well before conception as well as during pregnancy and breast-feeding can have a positive long term effect on the health of the baby, in particular their brain and eye development.

One of the most important factors in ensuring the healthy development of the foetus is a healthy diet. Equally important is the elimination of alcohol and smoking. Recent scientific research indicates that the mother should also ensure she receives enough long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCP's).

This new research indicates that the two LCP's: DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) and AA (arachidonic Acid) are of particular importance in the healthy development of the eye and brain both in the developing foetus and the newborn baby. AA is required for normal transmission of messages along nerves and memory. DHA is required as a building block of normal nerve cell and eye membranes. Studies show that mother's diets deficient in DHA are often linked with low head circumference, low placental weight and low baby birth weight.

Research studies on visual attention and problem solving have found enhanced mental development in infants with high blood plasma LCP levels. The results of intelligence tests showed that these infants had increased speed of information processing and higher problem solving scores.

An adequate supply of LCP's before, during and after pregnancy and while breast-feeding is vital not only for the baby's development but also to satisfy the mothers needs.

During the last trimester of pregnancy the brain weight of the foetus increases by four or five times and there is a rapid accumulation of DHA and AA in the eye and brain of the developing infant.

After Pregnancy and While Breast Feeding

DHA may also assist with alleviating post natal depression and mood change.

Breast milk provides the DHA and AA required for the baby's rapid brain and nervous system development during the first months of life. During lactation the mother's body loses 70- 80 mg of DHA per day in breast milk, in addition to the amount used to fulfil the mothers own requirements.

300 mg per day of DHA is required for the eye and brain development of the foetus. Research in Australia shows the current average intake of DHA is insufficient at between 70-106 mg per day.


Contains: High DHA Marine Fish Oil.

Reproduced unabridged from the February/ March 2003 issue of Health and Herbal News, with the kind permission of Health and Herbs International Ltd.

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products are all useful for motherhood:

Baby Relief 4 Oral Spray Kit
Mother & Baby
Fully Active Folate
Eczema Shield
Inner Health Plus
Lucas Papaw Ointment
Mineral Power
Multi for Pregnancy
Nursing Tea
Superior Iron
Superior Magnesium
Pregnancy Support
Pregnancy Tea
Prenatal Nutrients

Related health information can be found here:

Breast Feeding
Fluid Retention
Mineral Power
Morning Sickness
Pregnancy Nutrients
Water, the Elixir of Life

Related Blog postings can be found here:

Pregnancy Multivitamin Information
Get Pregnant Fast

Related articles can be found here:

A New Baby, a New Body
Calm children at last
Critical Pregnancy Nutrition
Minerals: Critical for Well-being
Nature or Bad Parenting?
Red Raspberry eases pregnancy
Working with Children

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


Red Raspberry Eases Pregnancy

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Red Raspberry Eases Pregnancy
22 Mar 2003


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