A new Danish study suggests that taking Omega-3 rich fish oil supplements in late pregnancy can pay dividends when it comes to healthy growth in children, right up until they are six-years-old.
Fish oil for the win
“A new study from Denmark’s University of Copenhagen, published in the BMJ today, shows that taking a fish oil supplement during pregnancy is linked to an increase in lean mass, bone mass and fat mass by the time a child is aged six,” SBS reports.
“The study demonstrates that taking fish oil supplements from the 24th week of pregnancy right up until a week after birth may be beneficial for a child’s healthy growth in early life.”
Researchers looked at 736 pregnant women and their babies, and found that fish oil had a positive effect on the children’s growth.
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The ‘right’ kind of growth
While it was previously found that fish oil in late pregnancy would increase a child’s BMI, this study shows that the increase doesn’t seem to be obesity-related. In other words, this is the good kind of growth – proportional and in all the right places.
The children whose mothers had taken fish oil supplements while pregnant were scanned at the age of six. These scans showed they had a 395g higher total mass, 280.7g higher lean mass, 10.3g higher bone mineral content and 116.3g higher fat mass compared with children of mothers who took a control oil (which was simply olive oil.)
“The body composition at age six years in children given fish oil supplementation was characterised by a proportional increase in lean, bone, and fat mass, suggesting a general growth stimulating effect,” the paper concludes.