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Pregnant Women Can Boost Their Infant's Immune System! — an article on the Smart Living Network
August 4, 2011 at 11:54 AMComments: 2 Faves: 0

Pregnant Women Can Boost Their Infant's Immune System!

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A Recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, showed that when pregnant women consume 1,400 mg of DHA (a form of omega-3 fatty acid), their infants were less likely to develop respiratory infections, such as colds.

Cold water fish (sardines, tuna, salmon) are the best source of DHA, but other seafoods, & algae also offer a good supply of DHEA.  Organ meats and Eggs do have small amounts of DHA in them, but not enough to get you to the levels used in the study.

It is important to know what type of fish you are eating; some fish have higher levels of mercury than others.  When pregnant and eating fish it is good to keep these guidelines in mind:

1. Do not eat Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, or Tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.

2. Eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.

  • Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish.
  • Another commonly eaten fish, albacore ("white") tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. So, when choosing your two meals of fish and shellfish, you may eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna per week.

3. Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. If no advice is available, eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) per week of fish you catch from local waters, but don't consume any other fish during that week.

You don’t have to eat very much fish either, eating two 6-ounce servings of cold water fish per week would be an adequate supply of DHA.  Omega-3 fatty acids benefit your body in other ways, so it is a healthy thing for you to do!

Stay Healthy,

 Dr. Jeff M.D.

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2 Comments

  • Do you have any suggestions for high doses of DHA for vegetarian (non-pescivore)?

  • This is a great question.

    Vegetarians (particularly if you are pregnant or breast feeding) need to be intentional of the amount and types of omega-3 fatty acids that they are getting.

    There are 3 major types of omega-3 fatty acids (O3FA):

    Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a long chain O3FA that is found in seafood.

    Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), a long chain O3FA that is also found in seafood.

    Alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA), a short chain O3FA that is found in walnuts, avocado, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, olive oil, canola oil, hempseeds, hempseed oil.

    Omega-3 fatty acids are distinctly different from omega-6 fatty acids (Omega-6 fatty acids are found in most vegetable oils)

    If you have a low ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids, you body can convert ALA to EPA. With higher ratio’s it cannot. We can also convert DHA to EPA. We are unable to convert or synthesize DHA, so we need to get it from our diet.

    The best vegetarian source of DHA is algae. If you do not eat Algae on a regular basis, then it might be a good idea to get it in the form of a vegetarian supplement, where it has been extracted from the algae.

    I hope this Helps!

    Stay healthy,

    Dr. Jeff M.D.

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