DHA in your Young Child’s Diet: An Eye Opener

From: Amazing Communications
Published: Thu Mar 03 2005

As parents we surrender ourselves to the toughest of the challenges faced during pregnancy and anxiously wait for long months just to experience that magical first sight of your newborn child. That hypnotizing smile of our child after a glimpse of ours truly mesmerizes us to limits beyond comparison. We hope to brighten and safeguard those innocent eyes with the greatest care and compassion.

But did you know that the slightest ignorance of some essential nutrients in your child’s diet could endanger your child’s visual capabilities? Would you choose to gift your child the curse of those ugly frames with thick lenses at the age of nothing? The secret blessing of vision is the most invaluable gift of life, yet we take it so much for granted. You can make a difference by understanding and further opting for nutrients essential for your child.

It should not be surprising that large gaps exist at the biochemical, physiologic, and behavioral levels in our knowledge of the effects of nutrients on visual function. We have grown up learning that green leafy vegetables, carrot and vitamin A comprise the richest dietary sources that would provide us with all that is needed for a non-compromised vision. But the striking results of research in the recent past have forced us to focus on the hidden benefits of essential fatty acids for good vision in growing children. You have not read it wrong; it’s fat that forms a significant portion of the retina [inner lining of eyes] and is responsible for that perfect functioning of your child’s vision. Definitely all fats are not created equal and some fats like Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are vital for the optimal functioning of your child’s eye. There is growing interest in the quality of the dietary lipid supply during childhood as a major determinant of visual, growth, and neural development.

DHA is found in concentrations as high as 50-60% in the retina. Retinal photoreceptor membranes contain the body's highest concentrations of Docosahexaenoic acid. The retina develops rapidly in the final months of pregnancy and during early childhood. This explains the implication of DHA supplementation during early childhood and later. In particular, DHA is known to be important in photoreceptor membrane function in the retina. Because maturation of the visual functions requires the deposition of DHA in neuronal membranes, any limitation in its supply during the crucial growing years may adversely influence the infant visual development and thus visual function throughout life.
Nevertheless, the blood levels of DHA in breast-fed infants typically decrease between 6 and 12 months of age, due to diminished maternal DHA levels. Another reason for the depletion could be the introduction of DHA-poor dietary sources displacing human milk as the primary source of nutrition. Hence, when the child begins to depend on dietary sources other than breast-milk, appropriate balance of dietary components is imperative for the proper growth and development of child’s brain and eyes.
In fact, 80 % of what children learn in their first 12 years comes through their eyes. To give your child the best chance at good vision it is important to supply the vital nutrients including DHA during the growing years.
Company: Amazing Communications
Contact Name: Sathish Isaac
Contact Email: sathishisaac@yahoo.co.in
Contact Phone: 044-91-9841069964