|Vital Information for Pregnant and Nursing Women
The omega-3s and vitamin D that abound only in fish and seafood are important to everyone ... and they're essential for ensuring healthy pregnancies, babies, and children.
In fact, we named our company Vital Choice in part because of the profound importance of the nutrients in wild salmon and other seafood for pregnant and nursing women and their children.
After all, what choice could be more vital than one that impacts the health of a child?
Unfortunately, as numerous studies show, many mothers and infants don't get enough omega-3s or vitamin D. Read on, to learn more about the importance of omega-3s and the safety of seafood for mothers and babies.
Click to this site for accurate
fact sheets and videos
Risk to growing children from insufficient omega-3s
“Early developmental deficiencies in [omega-3] DHA and EPA may lower serotonin levels at critical periods of neurodevelopment and may result in a cascade of suboptimal development of neurotransmitter systems ...”
– Joseph R. Hibbeln, M.D., of the NIH (Hibbeln JR et al. Int Rev Psychiatry, April 2006)
Omega-3s: Essential to child development
To ensure optimal development of her baby's eyes, brain, and immune system, an expectant mother needs ample amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D during pregnancy and nursing.
Pure wild seafood – especially fatty fish like sardines, mackerel, tuna, and wild salmon or sablefish – are superior sources of omega-3s and vitamin D alike.
To learn more about the developmental benefits of seafood, we recommend the videos and fact sheets at Fish, Mercury, and Nutrition: The Net Effects ... a website produced by North Dakota Public Broadcasting and the University of North Dakota.
Seafood is safe and beneficial for mothers and children
Parents are naturally concerned about the risks of mercury in seafood. Fortunately, recent scientific findings confirm that the rewards of eating fish far outweigh the virtually non-existent risks.
In fact, the best available evidence shows that pregnant and nursing women who eat no more fish than U.S. agencies (EPA and FDA) recommend may hinder optimal brain and visual development in their children.
A series of such findings culminated in a landmark 2007 study published in the leading journal Lancet, whose authors came to a comforting conclusion:
"The dangers of fish-eating in pregnancy have been misrepresented and are misleading and are not based on any evidence of harm." (Lancet 2007; 369:537-8)
Dr. Joe Hibbeln, MD of NIH
(right) with Harvard's Dariush Mozaffarian, PhD at the 2005 Seafood & Health Conference
The Feburary 17, 2007 issue of Newsweek magazine featured this interview with Dr. Joe Hibbeln, concerning his landmark 2007 Lancet study on the rewards of seafood for mothers and children:
Newsweek: You found that women needed to eat more than 12 ounces of seafood per week to see beneficial effects on their children's development. Isn't that a lot of fish?
Dr. Hibbeln: It depends on where you live. If you're in Iceland, that's lunch.
Newsweek: But for many American women, doesn't 12 ounces sound huge?
Dr. Hibbeln: That would be two or three fish meals a week.
Newsweek: What about taking omega-3 supplements instead of eating an actual fish?
Newsweek: Is the actual fish better than any supplements?
Dr. Hibbeln: This study looks only at seafood. Now there is separate data from other studies that have fairly consistently and uniformly showed benefits when pregnant women take supplements.
Newsweek: How did the FDA and EPA get it so wrong?
Dr. Hibbeln: That's not really something that is part of this manuscript. I think it is best said that these data indicate that the toxic effects of mercury may have been overestimated in relationship to the nutritional benefits of seafood.
Newsweek: Will the FDA and EPA change their guidelines?
Dr. Hibbeln: We as scientists at the NIH aren't trying to get them to do anything. … We've assessed the advisory, and we've concluded that the advisory causes the harm it's intended to prevent.
The children of mothers who ate more seafood than U.S. EPA and FDA recommend for pregnant women had higher IQs, better social skills, and were more communicative and physically accomplished.
To learn which fish are safe for developing children, in what amounts – and why the developmental benefits of seafood far outweigh the virtually nonexistent risks – we recommend these videos at the Fish, Mercury, and Nutrition website:
We also recommend two of the website's excellent fact sheets:
To get the whole story in one video, watch the website's 32-minute documentary, which covers all of the relevant research concerning the health impacts of mercury and omega-3s in seafood.
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Nutrition in Child Development: Vital Readings
We selected this small sample from a large body of literature on the subject of omega-3s and child development.
The Omega-3 Connection– A beautifully written passage on fetal development by Harvard's Andrew Stoll, M.D.
Maternal Fish Diet Boosts Baby's Language Learning – "Women who ate fish regularly during pregnancy had children with better language and communication skills by the age of 18 months, shows a new study, which supports previous evidence that fatty aids found in the food boost children's neurological development."
Maternal seafood consumption in pregnancy and neurodevelopmental outcomes in childhood
"...Maternal seafood consumption of less than 340 g per week in pregnancy did not protect children from adverse outcomes; rather, we recorded beneficial effects on child development with maternal seafood intakes of more than 340 g per week, suggesting that advice to limit seafood consumption could actually be detrimental." (Hibbeln, et al, 2/2007)
Omega-3 Deficiencies in Neurodevelopment
"...Deficiency in long-chain essential fatty acids during critical periods of prenatal and childhood neurodevelopment may result in a residual predisposition towards aggressive and depressive behaviors, possibly by impairing neuronal migration, connectivity, timed apoptosis [programmed cell death], and dendritic arborization [brain development], such that there is an irreversible disruption in the neuronal pathways that regulate behavior." (Hibbeln, et al, 4/2006)
The Omega 3 Story: Nutritional Prevention of Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes
Technical but fascinating research paper that should be required reading for anyone considering having a baby.
Essential Fatty Acids in Mothers and their Neonates
DHA and other Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (LCPUFAs) are fetal 'building blocks' whose availability is dependent upon their abundance in the maternal diet.
Omega 3s and Infant Retinal Development
Importance of omega-3 fatty acids in fetal retinal development – Dr. Martha Neuringer
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Our Healthy Mom & Baby Packs
Vital Choice is recommended by the country's leading authorities on maternal nutrition, including "America's Baby Doctor", Dr. William Sears.
Did you know that the majority of pregnant women in America don't consume enough omega-3 fatty acids to ensure optimal child development ... or personal health?
Our Healthy Mom & Baby Packs provide several meals a week of safe, omega-3-rich wild Alaska Salmon.
We are delighted to have teamed up with Christiane Northrup, M.D. – the internationally recognized authority on women’s health – to create these convenient combination packages, which make great gifts for homebound new mothers, since we deliver right to their door. Satisfaction is 100% guaranteed!
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