During foetal development, the critical role of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is for the structural and functional integrity of the central nervous system (CNS) and retina. By drawing on the maternal supply of this essential fatty acid during pregnancy, a newborn is able to achieve a brain weight which is at 70% of an adult. The maternal intake of omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy and lactation is therefore crucial since both DHA and EPA are provided during perinatal development through placental transfer and maternal milk. This not only determines the DHA status of the newborn, but has a significant impact on post-natal development of brain and visual functions.
In this infographic we review some of the key roles of DHA, not just for optimising mental and neuronal development, but also as a nutrient that may improve cognitive performance and behaviour in infancy and childhood.
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