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Seafood Choices: Balancing Benefits and Risks
that the infants and children of mothers who consume seafood or EPA/DHA supplements during pregnancy and/or lactation may have improved developmental outcomes is also supported largely by observational studies;
Increased EPA/DHA intake by pregnant and lactating women is associated with increased transfer to the fetus and breastfed infant.
A number of observational studies show a positive association between maternal blood or breast milk DHA levels and a range of developmental outcomes in infants and children.
Two experimental studies of maternal EPA/DHA supplementation found cognitive benefits for the children when they were 4 or 5 years of age.
Because these two studies differed dramatically in timing of EPA/DHA supplementation (pre- and postnatally or postnatally), source (cod-liver oil or algal DHA), and amount (2 g or 200 mg EPA/DHA) and, likely, in usual seafood intake (Norway or US residents), insufficient data are available to define an ideal level of EPA/DHA intake from seafood in pregnant and lactating women;
A large number of experimental trials have provided DHA directly to human infants through infant formula and have found benefits for infant and child neurological development. These trials offer the best evidence that infants/children would benefit from increased DHA in breast milk and increased maternal seafood intake.
Visual acuity has been measured in the most trials and is increased by DHA supplementation, with preterm infants more likely to benefit than term infants.
Cognitive benefits of postnatal DHA supplementation with formula have also been found in infancy and early childhood. However, the number of trials has been limited and the specific outcomes varied, precluding a systematic review;
At present there is no convincing evidence that ADHD, other behavioral disorders, and asthma in children can be prevented or treated with seafood or EPA/DHA consumption.