As any woman who has been pregnant knows to be true, there are about a million tiny things to remember while your baby develops. Of course, there are the obvious ones, such as no alcohol or sushi, but then there are less common recommendations that are still important. Taking care of your pregnant body is another thing to take into consideration, including knowing the proper nutrients and vitamins needed to help your baby develop properly. And now, new research shows that lacking specific nutrients during pregnancy could cause schizophrenia, or similar symptoms, in a mother's offspring.
As a new study has found, the development of schizophrenia in adults could be caused by a "lack of two omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the mother's diet." However, it's important to note that this new study is based on research involving mice, not actual humans. So, while this may in fact be true for humans, for now, it is only evident in mice.
Of course, what is known to be true is that nutritional needs during pregnancy are very precise, and if they aren't met, the child could face an increased risk of disease later in life. So, while this latest research has only been tested in mice, it still has a fair chance of ringing true for humans, and it's important to understand it.
According to the study, researchers "deprived pregnant mice of DHA and AA and found that their offspring developed schizophrenia-like symptoms in adulthood." While the symptoms weren't present right away, they "included depression, memory impairment, and low motivation." So, if this research is even remotely valid, and it seems to be well-executed, how can women make sure that they're getting enough DHA and AA in their diets?
Well DHA and AA are both kinds of omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), which are found in a variety of foods. AA, though, is fairly specific to animal products, such as meat and eggs. DHA, on the other hand, is also found in eggs, as well as fish and dairy products, including fish oil supplements.
So, while pregnancy can certainly be overwhelming and it may seem like there's too much to remember about what you can and cannot eat, just remember that new research is being done every day to determine how you can best take care of your little one.
A balanced and healthy diet is ideal, but always be sure to check with your doctor before taking any supplements or vastly changing your diet while pregnant.