Knowing the role of DHA for brain development is necessary for you to help holistic growth of your child...

It is a priceless feeling to see your little bundle of joy grow up hale and hearty. Her quick responses, inquisitiveness and non-stop agility are moments you don’t want to miss. But there are certain important factors that you surely don’t want to miss because they determine how perfect the picture is. For example, providing your child the essential nutrients can add to your joys because essential fatty acids, DHA in particular, play a crucial role in brain development of your child.

DHA is essential for the growth and functional development of the brain in children. It is the predominant structural fatty acid in the central nervous system and retina and its availability is crucial for brain development.

Nutritionist Hena Nafis says, “Intake of EFAs and DHA during preschool years may also have a beneficial role in the prevention of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and enhancing learning capability and academic performance.”

Most of the brain growth is completed by 5-6 years of age in humans. Hena says, “Hence, it is very important that the diet of kids aged 1-6 years should consist of DHA-rich foods such as oily fishes and seeds.” DHA is present in fatty fishes such as salmon, tuna and mackerel and mother’s milk. DHA is present at low levels in meat and eggs. Besides, the DHA requirements of infants are met if they are breast fed.

Hena feels, “However, it is difficult to get DHA through common foods. Many children don’t eat seafood and are vegetarian. They can be given DHA in supplemental form such as DHA fortified milk formulas.”

  • From birth to 6 years of age brain cell connections increase from 50 trillion to 1000 trillion
  • In a child’s brain, the DHA accumulates in the largest lobe called frontal lobe which is responsible for memory, speech and emotions
  • DHA represents nearly 60% of the retina (eye) and around 25% of the dry weight of the brain
  • Large amounts of DHA accumulate in the brain early and rapidly influencing brain function and cognition.