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Omega 3 fatty acids during pregnancy. Do I need it?
1) if I take omega 3 fatty acid supplements during pregnancy, it will help my baby's brain development better?
There is not enough evidence that supplements help to boost a baby's brain power. Omega3's in a mom's diet are definitely beneficial though. Taking fish oil capsules does not have same health benefits eating fish as along with omega 3, fish are good sources of proteins, calcium and vitamins b and d which one doesn't get from fish oil capsules.
If at all someone is taking these supplements, it should be taken at the start of a meal to avoid the fishy taste and burps.
2) are there any proven medical benefits of fish oil supplements?
Fish oil have omega 3's in the form of dha and epa. They are good for people who have high triglyceride levels as it helps to lower the triglyceride level in the blood but one must take at least 2-4 g per day to have this effect. How much dha we get out of a particular brand of capsule is not known as fish oil is sold over the counter and is not regulated by drug agencies. Fish oil may also help in controlling diabetes. They may also reduce complications in a person with known heart disease. If you have none of the conditions above it is much better to simply eat fish as and when you want.
Please remember that may also act as blood thinners. People who are on ecosprin, or heparin or any other medication for heart disease should take it only on prescription and be monitored regularly.
3) can I get omega3's from any other source?
While fish is a good source of omega 3's, it is not readily available in many parts of our country. Also vegetarians can get it from walnuts, dark leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, algae oil or flaxseed oils. But vegetarian sources are poor replacements as compared to fish.
Krill oil which is made from shrimps has as much omega 3's as fish oil.
4) how much fish should I eat to get enough omega 3's?
It is recommended to eat one cup fish twice a week and up to 4 cups of cooked fish are safe for consumption. Frequent fish eaters should mind the mercury contained in certain fish. Shrimps, tuna, salmon and catfish are generally low in mercury while mackerel, sharks and swordfish have high mercury content. Pregnant women should definitely try to reduce the mercury content in their diet.