DHA in Infant Formula Can Improve the Development of Baby Vision So Says the European Parliament
It is now pretty well known that there are substantial health benefits, including to the very young, from increasing the amount of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids in our diet. This has now, in the last couple of days, been confirmed by a decision of the European Parliament.
The Omega 3 essential fatty acids are important fats that our body needs to good health but which it is unable to produce itself. For this reason all of our Omega 3 fatty acids must of necessity come from what we eat. And unfortunately the primary source of these essential fats is seafood, and particularly oily fish, and our consumption of seafood has declined dramatically over the last century.
This has had substantial health ramifications, and in particular has contributed to an increase in a range of lifestyle diseases that were rare a century ago 日本母嬰用品. Researchers started to uncover the reasons why when they began to study communities which had very low levels of the lifestyle diseases such as the Japanese, and discovered a link between the amount of seafood consumed and diseases such as heart disease.
Whilst the initial evidence was building up there was some scepticism about the health benefits of the Omega 3 fats, however it is now generally recognised by mainstream medical organisations that a deficiency in the Omega 3 essential fatty acids contributes to heart disease and may even contribute to a heart attack causing death. The American Heart Association now tells us to eat more fatty acids for this reason.
But it’s not just for our heart health. There’s a wide range of other health problems which are impacted by a deficiency in our intake of the essential fatty acids, including our eyesight.
It is not commonly known but there is more DHA in the retinal rods in the eye than in any other cells in our body. An adequate supply of DHA ensures better vision in the very young and in the very old, because it is also now understood that low levels of DHA can be a contributing factor to macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older people.
During the first 3 years of life your baby’s vision develops dramatically. In the first 3 years of life the size of a baby’s eyes increases threefold from birth. Retinal tissue in the eye is mature by the age of 3, although the development of vision continues throughout childhood affecting such things as hand eye coordination. The development of baby vision affects every aspect of an infant’s life.
It has been recognized for some time that breastfed infants have better developed visual functions than those who are fed formula. Traditional infant formulas does not contain any of the Omega 3 fats, particularly DHA, whereas breastmilk does, provided the mother has these important fats in her diet. If she does they are passed to the infant through breastfeeding.
For this reason it is now possible to buy DHA fortified infant formula, and the European Parliament has now confirmed the benefits to the eyesight of babies and infants of this DHA fortification.
Through a narrow vote it was confirmed that infant formulas can include claims about the benefits of DHA in the formula on infant visual development. There were voices of objection raised of course on the grounds that this may lead mothers to think that formula is as good for babies as breastmilk.
This is a valid objection and it is generally accepted that breastmilk is always better for babies than formula, however for various reasons mothers will still continue to use formula for their babies, and if they do it is always better that they use formula fortified with the Omega 3 fats.
There’s no doubt breastmilk is better for babies, however it is important that any mother also understands that for her baby to get an adequate supply of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids the mother must have an adequate supply of these fats in her own diet. This is important both for her own health as well as for the health, and visual development, of her baby.
Gradually we are seeing acceptance by the mainstream, including medical organisations such as the American Heart Association, and now by the European Parliament, of the fact that a sufficient intake of DHA and EPA is essential to the good health of all of us, as well as to the development of baby vision.
Of course eating fish is the traditional way of ensuring an adequate intake, however fish is now generally considered to be contaminated with toxins such as Mercury, and we shouldn’t eat too much fish that this reason. Fortunately there are high quality fish oil supplements available which are both cost-effective to take daily and which are completely clean and free of contamination.