Infant health and neurodevelopment:
Numerous studies have examined the effects of maternal Omega 3 intake on visual and cognitive development, including other infant health outcomes.
Research directs that getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids in the mothers’ diet is essential for optimal visual development. High concentrations of DHA are already present in the cellular membranes of the brain and retina, indicating that DHA is important for foetal growth and development. This accumulation of DHA in the retina is complete by birth, whereas accumulation in the brain continues throughout the first two years after birth.
However, as the body ages so does the risk of developing an eye disease.
Here are some of the most common eye diseases:
Cataracts. A condition where eyes become clouded. Age-related cataracts are a leading cause of vision impairment and blindness around the world.
Diabetic retinopathy. Associated with diabetes and a major cause of visual impairment and blindness, retinopathy develops when high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in the retina.
Dry eye disease. A condition marked by insufficient tear fluid, which causes eyes to dry up, leading to discomfort and potential visual problems.
Glaucoma. A group of diseases characterised by progressive degeneration of the optic nerve – which transfers visual information from eyes to brain. Glaucoma may cause poor eyesight or blindness.
Macular degeneration. The macula is the central part of the retina. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the main causes of blindness in developed countries.
Studies show that chronic inflammation contributes to the development of retinal diseases like macular degeneration.
Besides being a major structural component of the eye itself, Omega 3 plays an important role in keeping eyes healthy. A diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods such as Omega 3 EPA and DHA fatty acids may contribute to the maintenance of normal vision. (EPA eicosapentaenoic acid helps the body to produce DHA docosahexaenoic acid).
Omega 3 DHA is found in the highest concentration within the cell membranes of the retina.
- Research indicates that DHA plays an important role in optimising rhodopsin, the visual pigment photoreceptor required for image-forming vision, particularly at low light intensity.
- DHA is selectively incorporated into retinal cell membranes as well as the postsynaptic neuronal cell membranes, suggesting it plays important roles in vision and nervous system function.
- DHA maintains retinal integrity to maintain vision normal.
European Commission EFSA Health Claims for Omega 3 EPA & DHA:
- DHA contributes to the maintenance of normal vision (250mg per day)
We want our eyesight to last a lifetime, so it’s clear to see the importance of keeping vision as healthy as possible!
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