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Cod liver oil during pregnancy and lactation may improve children's IQ

Wednesday, 1 June 2016  |  Editor

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Cod liver oil during pregnancy and lactation may improve children's IQ

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Cod liver oil health supplements during pregnancy and lactation may improve children's IQ

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA) are important for the development of the central nervous system in mammals. The effects of supplementing pregnant and lactating women with very-long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) on the mental development of children were investigated in a recent randomised double-blind study.

Pregnant women were assigned either cod liver oil (10ml) or corn oil (10ml) to take from week 18 of pregnancy until 3 months after delivery. The cognitive function of the infants was then tested at 6 and 9 months and their intelligence was assessed at 4 years.
It was found that the infants of the women who were supplemented with cod liver oil scored higher in the mental assessment tests than those of the women who took corn oil.

These results suggest that supplementation of very-long-chain omega-3 PUFAs during pregnancy and lactation may augment the mental development of children.

Pediatrics 2003 Jan; 111(1): e39-44

Editors note: In view of the caution required with regard to taking excess vitamin A during pregnancy (contained in cod liver oil), we advise caution against taking excessive cod liver oil at this time. A safer option may be flaxseed oil or fish oil, but first check with your medical advisor.

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