Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Infant Vision Development

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A number of clinical studies have shown omega-3 fatty acids are essential for normal infant vision development.

DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids are found in maternal breast milk and also are added to some supplemented infant formulas. Omega-3 supplemental formulas appear to stimulate vision development in infants.

According to an analysis of several studies conducted by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health and published in the journal Pediatrics, the authors found that healthy pre-term infants who were fed DHA-supplemented formula showed significantly better visual acuity at 2 and 4 months of age, compared with similar pre-term infants who were fed formula that did not contain the omega-3 supplement.

Adequate amounts of DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids in the diet of pregnant women also appear to be important in normal infant vision development.

In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Canadian researchers found that infant girls whose mothers received DHA supplements from their fourth month of pregnancy until delivery were less likely to have below-average visual acuity at 2 months of age than infant girls whose mothers did not receive the omega-3 supplements.

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