We’ve heard a lot about the benefits of DHA, one of the omega-3s found in fish oils, in recent years. And now, scientists have documented yet another use for the healthy fat. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, University of Kansas researchers reported that pregnant women who take supplemental DHA have children with a higher fat-free body mass at 5 years of age.
The study followed 154 pregnant women between March 2006 and September 2009. Half were given 600 mg of DHA daily, and half a placebo. Five years later, researchers found that the children whose mothers took the DHA supplement had an average of 1.3 pounds more fat-free mass at age 5 compared with the placebo group, while both groups had a similar amount of body fat. Pregnant women who need more DHA in their diets don’t have to look far, says Susan Carlson, PhD, one of the study’s coauthors. “There are currently many prenatal supplements with DHA. They also can increase their intake of oily fish like salmon and tuna.”