How does the normal, healthy infant get DHA?
Newborns are unable to make enough DHA for themselves. This is because the biochemical tools needed to synthesize DHA are not ready to function at peak capacity. During the few months after birth, though, the brain and nervous system continues to grow and develop at a maddening pace. The need for DHA is still critical, as it was in the womb.
Since the infant can't make its own DHA, it needs to get it from somewhere else. Nature has provided an excellent source of DHA and other important fatty acids: breast milk. In western cultures, breast milk contains about 0.2% DHA of total fatty acids. In eastern cultures, it goes as high as 0.9%. This difference may reflect that much more fish and seafood products are part of the eastern diet. Compared to those fed standard baby formula, infants weaned on breast milk have better vision, score higher on intelligence and developmental tests, and may be less likely to succumb to mental illness in old age.
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