March of Dimes recommends DHA supplementation


The March of Dimes is a not-for-profit organization whose mission it is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.  Through research, community services, education and advocacy, they strive to carry out this mission.  March of Dimes might be best known for their recommendations that women of childbearing age to take 400 mcg of folic acid daily to help prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord.  Because of their far reaching efforts, most women are now aware of the importance of taking this vital nutrient for a healthy pregnancy.

Recently, the March of Dimes has made a new recommendation for pregnant women – the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids.  Specifically, they are recommending that women should get at least 200 mg of DHA daily.  For women concerned about the presence of mercury in fish, or who do not eat fish, they recommend obtaining the DHA from a supplement containing at least 200 mg.

The March of Dimes has added this important nutrient to its recommendations only after careful examination of the existing science.  That science is hard to ignore when it comes to DHA and infant brain development.  Kudos to March of Dimes for their recognition of this essential nutrient. Not only is DHA important for baby, but it is also important for mother.  The baby takes what nutrients she needs from her mother, often depleting the mother’s own stores.  So during pregnancy and throughout breastfeeding, nutrients are funneled to the baby first.  Mom gets whatever is leftover.  Proper diet and supplementation of pregnant and breastfeeding women is crucial for the health of both mom and baby.

When looking for a good quality DHA supplement, we must consider the supporting supplement of EPA.  EPA needs to be coupled with DHA in order to magnify the utilization of the DHA.  I highly recommend for my patients a combined total of DHA and EPA, equaling 1500mg or more, which not only aids the developing fetus, expectant mother, but aids in the removal of excess inflammation within the body.  Therefore, Omega III fatty acids aids our bodies in the removal of inflammation as it relates to everyone, not just expectant mothers.

The best way to determine if the Omega III fatty acid you are using is of good quality or is mostly water, would be to place a few of the capsules in the freezer for 24 hours.  Remember, true oils will not freeze.  Therefore, if the supplement you are taking is made up of water, which many are, they will freeze solid.  If this is the case you have the wrong brand.  Keep this in mind, “You get what you pay for.”  So, if you choose the least expensive Omega III supplement, most likely you will get poorer quality and less benefit to your health.


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