Maternal fish consumption improves brain function, reduces autism risk among children
A study has proven that that increased their consumption of fish among women during pregnancy has improved the brain function of their children.
The research conducted by Jordi Julvez and his team from the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona, entailed the monitoring of 2,000 mother and child pairs from the first trimester of the mothers’ pregnancy until the child’s fifth birthday.
According to the findings, there was improved brain functions among the children whose mothers who averaged an intake of 600 grams of 21 ounces of fish weekly while pregnant compared to those who took less.
“Seafood is known to be an important source of essential nutrients for brain development, but at the same time accumulates mercury from the environment, which is known to be neurotoxic,” Julvez responded to Reuters through email.
While there was no signs of negative impact found among the participants caused by potential pollutants associated with fish, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration still recommends that pregnant women take no more than 12 ounces of fish every week.
For their part, the European Food Safety Authority has recommended 150 g to 600 g consumption of fish per week during pregnancy.
Among the most significant results of the study is a reduction in autism-spectrum traits which came with increased maternal fish consumption, which doctors who are not involved with the study even found interesting.
“I think what’s interesting about this study compared to some data previously is that they better quantify the relationship between how much fish is consumed in a diet and then the benefits for the fetus and ultimately the child,” Dr. Ashley Roman, director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, said.
She said she was impressed by how the study managed to correlate the fish consumption to protection from autism which she considers a “very important finding.” (ANGEL ONG)