CREAL: Fish consumption during pregnancy is beneficial for cognitive development of children

CREAL: Fish consumption during pregnancy is beneficial for cognitive development of children

News from CREAL

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology shows that eating fish during pregnancy, above the recommended limit 340g a week, has benefits in the neuropsychological development of children. This research was led by the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), an ISGlobal allied center.

The researchers came to this conclusion after analyzing data from a birth cohort of nearly 1,600 Spanish women and their children at the ages of 14 months and 5 years. They evaluated the consumption of various types of fish classified as large and small fatty fish, lean fish, and shellfish, as well as total seafood. "We saw the greatest benefits to the cognitive development of the children were linked to the consumption of large fatty fish, followed by lean and small fatty fish," explains Jordi Júlvez, CREAL researcher and coordinator of the study.

On average, the women consumed approximately 500g of seafood, or three servings, per week during pregnancy. But with every additional 10 g per week above this amount, the results of the children’s test improved up to those achieved with approximately 600 g of fish consumption. “We have found that there is a saturation of the benefits of eating fish. Taking three or four weekly servings of fish (around 600 g) provides the same benefits as taking more”, comments the researcher. The connection between high maternal fish consumption and better brain development in children was especially apparent when children were five.

More information:
CREAL Website

Reference work:
Jordi Julvez, Michelle Méndez, Silvia Fernandez-Barres, Dora Romaguera, Jesus Vioque, Sabrina Llop, Jesus Ibarluzea, Monica Guxens, Claudia Avella-Garcia, Adonina Tardón, Isolina Riaño, Ainara Andiarena, Oliver Robinson, Victoria Arija, Mikel Esnaola, Ferran Ballester, and Jordi Sunyer. Maternal Consumption of Seafood in Pregnancy and Child Neuropsychological Development: A Longitudinal Study Based on a Population With High Consumption Levels. Am J Epidemiol. 2016 Jan 5

Image: Guillermo Montera // Flickr CC.