Currently in its infancy, nutrition is very important for infant development. Essential nutrients such as omega-3 is known to help brain development of infants. Omega-3 are found mainly in fish. One study found that mothers who eat fish have a lot of milk with omega-3 content is high.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, Cincinnati Children's Hospital and an anthropologist at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) found that women in American Indian tribes have the milk that is rich in omega-3. Though Indians are economically poorer than other people in the United States.
The study, published the journal Maternal and Child Nutrition compared the fatty acid composition of breast milk of women in the United States and Indian tribes are named Tsimane. Tsimane tribe living in the Amazon jungle in Bolivia and consuming local food, meat of wild animals and freshwater fish.
The result, tribal women breast milk samples contained more Tsimane omega 3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which is very important for cognitive and visual development of infants.
In addition, levels of DHA in breast milk did not decline after 2 years of birth. This period is the period in which the most optimal baby brain growth and absorb the DHA.
"The composition of fatty acids in breast milk varies according to the fatty acid composition of food and maternal fat stores," said researcher, Melanie Martin, a doctoral student in the department of UCSB antropolgi as reported by Science Daily, Tuesday (12/06/2012).
Comparison of omega-6 to omega-3 in women in the U.S. varies from 10: 1 to 20: 1, whereas the mothers in the Tsimane only 4: 1. This is presumably because the U.S. does not have fresh fish and the women who consume lots of processed foods rich in omega-6 and trans fats.
Levels of high omega-6 known to be associated with an increased risk of obesity, inflammation, cardiovascular disease and interfere with the processing of DHA and omega-3 fatty acids.
"On average, breast milk contains DHA in Tsimane 400 percent higher than the mother in Cincinnati. However, the average percentage of omega-6 and fat transnya 84 percent and 260 percent lower. While living in poor economic condition, the mothers in Tsimane produce milk with a composition more balanced and nutritious, "says Martin.
These findings highlight the importance of increasing fatty acid content in breast milk of mothers in the U.S.. Composition of fatty acids in infant formula should mimic breast milk composition in the Tsimane. Researchers also suggested that the baby is getting the intake of omega-3 fatty acids from milk which is naturally derived.
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