DHA and Healthy Babies

July 20, 2004

Researchers have found that babies born to mothers with higher blood levels of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA at delivery had advanced levels of attention spans that existed well into their second year of life. During the first six months of life, these infants were two months ahead of babies whose mothers were low in DHA. Attention is an important component of intelligence early in life. DHA is important for the developing brain which accumulates large quantities of DHA during the first two years of life. The brain and nervous system contain very large concentrations of DHA compared to the rest of the body, and it is also needed for development of the retina in the eye. The study is published in the August issue of the journal Child Development.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

DHA is found in fish, plankton, and in supplements. Studies show that babies raised with sufficient levels of DHA have an edge in terms of early cognitive development, this is the first study that I know of where it benefits the baby's cognitive development in the womb, even though this is the logical conclusion since DHA is needed for brain development. Women who are low in DHA have a higher risk of developing post partum depression, and studies show that DHA can decrease the risk of developing and may even treat this type of depression. Unfortunately, the fish supply is tainted with mercury, PCBs and other contaminants. We have posted a guide to healthy fish selection; see our Radio Studies for June 25th.

Exercise Helps the Elderly Live Longer

Both men and women aged 65 or older who exercise once a week, were 40% less likely to die over a 12 year period than their peers who are physically inactive. Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, interviewed 3,206 men and women aged 65 or older in 1988-89. After a 12 year follow up the researchers found that leisure-time physical activity even just for one hour each week greatly cut the risk of all-cause mortality. These individuals cycled, jogged or walked fast for an hour once a week. Even older individuals who occasionally exercise, whether it was skiing, hour-long walks, or other physical activity had a 28% drop in the risk of dying over the 12 year period. Other contributors to an earlier death besides getting no exercise were diabetes, currently smoking, high blood pressure, obesity or being underweight. The study appears in the July issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph

It obviously is very important to exercise. It is also very important not to get hurt when exercising so you can continue to exercise. You can minimize the risk of exercise injury by staying hydrated, focusing on supplementing with antioxidant herbs before exercising, and recovering rapidly from exercise. Antioxidant polyphenols such as Grape Seed extract, the nutrient Creatine Monohydrate, New Zealand Collagen, and protein will speed up recovery while decreasing the risk of dehydration and injury. If you recover quickly and fully from exercise, it is easy to stay on a moderate exercise schedule.

Anxiety during Pregnancy and ADHD

A study followed 71 women and their first born children from pregnancy through the age of 8 or 9. High levels of anxiety in pregnancy were linked strongly to an increased risk of suffering ADHD in the offspring. The study is published in Child Development.

Traffic Pollution Shortens Your Life

In a study of people living within 150 feet of a major urban road, or 300 feet from a major highway it was found that living near a major road shortened your life by 2.5 years due to vehicular exhaust exposure. In contrast COPD shortened the lifespan by 3.4 years, chronic ischemic heart disease shortened it by 3.1 years and diabetes shortened it by 4.4 years. The study included a population of Canadians examined for pulmonary function from 1985 to 1999, and followed through 2001. The study appears in the July 2004 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph

There are herbs, foods, and nutrients that help protect you from traffic exhaust. Ellagic acid, Sulforaphane, and other nutrients help increase the level of detoxification enzymes that protect delicate tissues, deactivate carcinogens and speed up the excretion of these dangerous chemicals.

Can Cigarette Smoking Cause Diabetes?

39,528 nondiabetic men and 88,613 nondiabetic women aged 40 to 79 were followed from 1993 through 2002 in Japan. After ruling out obesity, alcohol intake and other risk factors, smoking increased the risk of developing diabetes by almost 30% in men and 40% in women. The study appears in the July, 2004 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph. - The same nutrients that protect you from vehicular exhaust help protect you from cigarette smoke - Ellagic acid, and Sulforaphane, and also NAC, Spirulina, Perna, Resveratrol, Green Tea EGCG, and Astaxanthin.