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Major Study Shows Fish Oil Fat in Infants Increases Adult Intelligence

May 22, 2002 | 32,999 views

Infants who are breast-fed for up to 9 months may out-smart their peers as adults.

The findings support a growing body of research linking breast-feeding with intellectual development in early and middle childhood, but are the first to show an association between breast-feeding and adult intelligence.

It is not clear why breast-fed infants may log higher IQs as adults, but the researchers speculate that breast milk contains beneficial nutrients not found in formula or cow's milk. Breast milk contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA)-- long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that appear to support brain development, according to previous studies. These nutrients were recently added to some infant formulas sold in the United States.

The physical and psychological bond between a mother and child that develops during breast-feeding might also play a role by stimulating brain development, or unidentified environmental factors maybe at work. For instance, the researchers suggest, the amount of time a woman spends breast-feeding her child may serve as a marker of the time and energy she invests in the child's entire upbringing.

Test scores rose in tandem with the duration of breast-feeding for up to nine months, regardless of the parents' social status and education, the mother's weight gain during pregnancy, the individual's birth weight,and other factors that may affect cognitive development.

Longer duration of breast-feeding was more common among older moms and those with more education and higher social status, and among infants with higher birth weights and lengths, the study found. Single women and those who smoked were the least likely to breast-feed for long periods.

These results indicate that breast-feeding may have long-term positive effects on cognitive and intellectual development. The nutrients in breast-milk,behavioral factors, and factors associated with choice of feeding method may all contribute to the positive association.

JAMA May 8, 2002;287:2365-2371


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

This is an amazing testimony, not only to breast-feeding, but to the benefit  of omega-3 fats . It is probably the single most important nutrient pregnant and breast-feeding women can be taking.

I am convinced that it is a lack of omega-3 fats that predisposes children to developing the brain injury from vaccines that results in autism, pervasive developmental delay and ADHD.

Always remember omega-3 fats are essential to your, and your children's, health.The best source for omega-3 is krill oil, as, unlike other sources such as walnuts or flax seeds, it is high in two fatty acids crucial to human health, DHA and EPA. These two fatty acids are pivotal in preventing heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases.The human brain is also highly dependent on DHA - low DHA levels have been linked to depression, schizophrenia, memory loss, and a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's.

Please recognize that we get ALL the omega-6 (and omega-9) fat we need from food. We do NOT need to take any supplements for these fats.Many of the omega fat supplements you see in health food stores will only serve to worsen your health, not improve it, as they contain omega 6 fats that will only worsen your omega-6to omega-3 ratio.

I strongly recommend avoiding sunflower, corn, soy, safflower, and canola oil,and products that contain these oils. This also means no hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats, no margarine, no vegetable oil, and no shortening. These oils are full of omega-6 fats and will only worsen your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.

Acceptable oils include high-quality extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, and organic butter... or better yet, grass-fed organic butter.

Another way to improve your omega 6:3 ratio is to change the type of meat you are eating. Since I can't recommend fish due to their high levels of mercury and other toxins these days, the best meats are those raised primarily or entirely on grass diets.Nearly all cattle found in grocery stores and restaurants are grain-fed before slaughter, so if you eat this type of beef, it will typically worsen you omega 6:omega 3 ratio.Though it may sound unusual to some, two of the best meat son the planet -- in terms of nutrition value and their incredible taste -- are bison and ostrich. And on Mercola.com, I offer bison meat and ourexclusive omega-3-rich ostrich meat, both of which are free-ranged, fed primarily grass/alfalfa diets, and contain no antibiotics or steroids. Whether from my site or elsewhere,I urge you to try bison and ostrich.

You can also consume a more "gamey" meat like venison, or try grass-fed beef, which I also highly recommend on Mercola.com. The grass fed beef I recommend is even higher in Omega 3 than fish, with a 6:3 ratio of 0.16 to 1 (this information is from a study done at Iowa State University in August 2001). It is still hard to find in grocery stores, however, and unlike bison and ostrich -- which both taste like prime beef -- some find the taste of grass-fed beef too lean.

On a side-note,you should be cautious of stores advertising grass-fed beef that really isn't true grass-fed. ALL cattle are grass-fed to some small extent, but the key is what they are fed the months prior to being processed. Most all cattle are shipped to giant feed lots and fed corn to fatten them up. Your best bet is to call the person who actually grew the beef, NOT the store manager, to find out the truth. Another effective way to determine if the meat is really from a grass-fed animal is to purchase the ground beef and slowly cook it till it's done, then drain and collect all the fat. Grass-fed beef will contain a relatively small amount of such fat compared to traditionally prepared ground beef (which is why some find the taste of grass-fed too lean!)

In summary:

  1. Most Americans,young and old, are highly deficient in omega-3, and one of the best things you can do for yourself and your children is routinely consume fish oil in warm months and cod liver oil in cool months,as they are high in the best kind of omega-3.
  2. You should cut out or reduce the oils and foods high in omega-6 fats,as Americans get far too much of them. This includes corn,sunflower, soy, canola and safflower oil, margarine, vegetable oil, and shortening.
  3. You should eat healthy meats, as store-bought beef and other common meats can worsen your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Bison and ostrich are two great-tasting and very healthy choices, and game animals or beef that is truly grass-fed are other good options.

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