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Could a Prenatal Supplement Prevent High Blood Pressure in Your Child?

An exciting study shows that women who take a prenatal vitamin containing an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish can prevent high blood pressure caused by obesity in their children later, TimesNewsNow reports.

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Researchers said the findings lead them to believe that lower blood pressure at age 6 years could extend beyond childhood.

Specifically, women in the study took a supplement of 600 milligrams of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Researchers who followed the mothers and their children called the difference “statistically significant” between obese and overweight children of mothers who took the DHA and those who didn’t.

Since earlier studies have already shown that only 27 percent of pregnant women are getting adequate levels of omega-3s, this new information should serve as a clarion call for anyone who’s pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, if for no other reason than omega-3 fats are crucial for the baby’s visual and cognitive development.

Omega-3 fats are known as essential fatty acids because the only way you can get them is through your diet. While most Americans’ diets — consisting of disproportionate amounts of processed foods — are seriously lacking in omega-3 fats, women tend to become even further depleted during pregnancy, as the fetus uses omega-3s for nervous system development.

After birth, omega-3s are again used to make breast milk, and for women on their second or third pregnancy, levels may be extremely low. There is no set recommended standard dose of omega-3 fats, but some health organizations recommend a daily dose of 250 to 500 milligrams (mg) of EPA and DHA for healthy adults.

If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, your body will likely require additional omega-3. The American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada recommend pregnant and lactating women (along with all adults) consume at least 500 mg of omega-3s, including EPA and DHA, daily.

But, as mentioned, the best and primary way to get your omega-3 is through what you eat. Your optimal health depends upon receiving enough high-quality omega-3 fats from fish, such as wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sardines and anchovies but, unfortunately, much of the fish sold is severely contaminated with environmental pollutants, increasing your risk of toxic exposure to chemicals such as mercury.

These chemicals are retained in the body of the animal so, generally, the closer to the bottom of the food chain your source of omega-3 fats is, the less contamination will have accumulated.

If you do decide to supplement with a fish oil, choose a high-quality one, such as krill oil, which enjoys a number of different benefits over regular fish oil.

High-quality krill are harvested from the clean waters of the Antarctic and are a sustainable and earth-friendly source of supplementation, unlike fish oil, which has brought some species of fish to extinction. Krill also naturally contains astaxanthin, a powerful phospholipid that keeps the oil safe from oxidation and improves your ability to absorb the supplement.

Also, since krill are so small and eat plankton, they don't have the chance to accumulate toxins from the environment before being harvested.

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