Health & Fitness

DHA-omega-3 supplements benefit expecting moms

BY MICHAEL ROIZEN, M.D., AND MEHMET OZ, M.D.

King Features Syndicate

As the trout said to the salmon, “Something fishy’s going on around here.” More and more evidence is piling up about the health benefits of eating foods high in DHA omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and trout, and taking DHA-omega-3 supplements. And now, according to researchers at the University of Granada and King’s College London, there’s yet another major benefit -- and it’s for moms-to-be and their babies.

In a recent study, the scientists found that moms who took 400 mg of fish-oil-derived DHA omega-3 supplements daily during pregnancy delivered babies with more iron in their blood than moms who didn’t take DHA. Sufficient iron is essential to assure proper in utero and childhood brain development.

Unfortunately, 30 to 50 percent of pregnant women worldwide are iron-deficient, and that’s one common cause of iron deficiency in a fetus or newborn; other gestational conditions that cause iron deficiency include a mom who smokes or has diabetes and/or hypertension.

So, if you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, stop smoking (as everyone should) and make sure your glucose levels and blood pressure are in a healthy range. Plus, we strongly recommend that you take algal oil, not fish oil, to get your omega-3s. The fish get theirs from algae, so cut out the middle fish and avoid worry about contaminants. (We recommend 900 mg daily for most folks; pregnant women can take 200 mg or more a day -- and don’t forget your prenatal vitamin.) And enjoy up to 12 ounces a week of salmon and trout.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

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