Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Women & Children

Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Women & Children

North Shore Acupuncture and Natural Medicine - Acupuncture Clinic in Beverly, MA

I would like to discuss 3 topics related to omega-3 supplementation.

1) Omega-3 and Brain Health during Pregnancy

2) Omega-3 during Childhood Development

3) Omega-3 and Menstrual Pain

Over the past 3 blogs, I have discussed how Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and can combat the inflammation that occurs in the human body. Inflammation manifests in many ways, from menstrual cramps to alzheimer's disease. Inflammation is the cause of most disease and at North Shore Acupuncture and Natural Medicine, we use acupuncture, craniosacral therapies, chinese herbal medicine, and nutritional therapies to address inflammation.

Why should you consider supplementing with Omega-3 for brain health during pregnancy?

Omega-3 fish oil supplement should be included before, during, and after pregnancy for both the mother and the baby. The source of Omega-3 fatty acids, should content high levels of DHA and EPA. High levels of docosahexaenoic acid or DHA play a role in the fetal brain, eye, immune and nervous system development. Maintaining high levels of DHA throughout the pregnancy is important. It's very important to take omega-3 fatty acids pre-conception as during the course of the pregnancy, DHA levels drop quickly, especially during the third trimester. During the third trimester the greatest amount of brain development takes place. After birth it's important to maintain high levels of DHA in both the mother and baby as brain development occurs rapidly during this time and the mother needs to replenish her levels lost during pregnancy. Low levels of DHA are associated with cognitive deficits and behavioral conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and aggression in children.

Omega-3 during Childhood Development

When choosing an Omega-3 supplement be sure that the source of omega-3 is of high quality and carefully processed to remove environmental toxins. During childhood development the nutritional goal would be for your child to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and high quality sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. However, not all children want to eat a high quality diet, if that is the case then Omega-3 supplementation is necessary for proper development. During childhood development, Omega-3s play an important role in brain function. Research studies have found that when Omega-3 levels are low, symptoms or conditions such as ADHD, anti-social traits, poor reading ability, and poor memory can result. To avoid the side effects of low levels of DHA and Omega-3s be sure to include a high quality polyunsaturated fatty acid, fish oil supplement in your child's health plan!

Omega-3 and Menstrual Pain

If you are suffering from primary dysmenorrhea, there is evidence you don't need to suffer from severe period pain anymore. A 2011 study found that fish oil is better than ibuprofen in treatment of severe pain in primary dysmenorrhea (1). A year later a 2012 study confirmed that supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids reduced the symptom intensity of primary dysmenorrhea (2). Supplement with an Omega-3 fish oil to stop suffering from severe period pain. Looking for even greater pain relief from your period pain? Try acupuncture! Acupuncture works to reduce menstrual cramps and overall period pain!

1) Comparison of the effect of fish oil and ibuprofen on treatment of severe pain in primary dysmenorrhea 

Mandana Zafari, Fereshteh Behmanesh, Azar Agha Mohammadi

Caspian J Intern Med. 2011 Summer; 2(3): 279–282.

2) Effect of omega-3 fatty acids on intensity of primary dysmenorrhea.

Rahbar N., Asgharzadeh D., Ghorbani R.

Int J. Gynaecol Obstet. 2012. April; 117(1): 45-7.