Omega mind

We all want our children to be smart and to make the most out of the opportunities we work so hard to provide for them.

Obviously, there are no guarantees in life–and this is especially true when it comes to parenthood. But giving our kids good nutrition right from the start is one way we can help them succeed.

DHA is a critical component of human breast milk. It plays an essential role in the structural growth and development of a baby’s brain.

And yet, until recently, formula-fed infants in this country were denied an ample dose of this omega-3 fatty acid. Despite years of evidence supporting its safety, courtesy of our more forward-thinking European neighbors.

I’m not the biggest fan of formula. But babies need to eat. And for the sake of all of those children whose mothers can’t or choose not to breastfeed, I’m glad this particular debate is finally over.

DHA is now a regular feature of infant formula in this country. And here is an amazing study that proves why it’s so important.

According to this new meta-analysis, a little extra fish oil–along with a good preschool and regular interactive reading time–can help to make your child smarter.

In fact, the authors of this study found that both supplementing a pregnant mother with fish oil and adding long-chain fatty acids to infant formula were able to raise children’s IQ scores by more than 3.5 points.

The same did not hold true for supplementation with iron, thiamine, ascorbic acid, or B-complex vitamins.

Of course, that’s not to say these other supplements don’t provide any benefit. These results simply reinforce the brain-building and nerve-nourishing effects of omega-3s, and DHA in particular.

We’ve been trying to find effective ways to increase intelligence for ages. And as far as I’m concerned, fish oils have always been a proven winner.

Especially when you consider the fact that your body can’t produce these fats on its own, supplementing with them–if you’ll pardon the pun–is a no-brainer.

I’ve been recommending well-sourced, purified fish oil to my patients’ children and infants (and to my patients who are children or infants) for years. I even wrote about it in my book, Feed Your Kids Well, originally published oh so long ago now.

That’s how conclusive the literature on this subject has been. But it’s always good to get a little reminder.

“How to Make a Young Child Smarter: Evidence From the Database of Raising Intelligence.” Perspectives on Psychological Science. January 2013. 8: 25-40.