The study revealed that omega-6 and omega-3 balance is important for future brain function and reinforced earlier suggestions that maternal intake of fish during pregnancy boosts the health of the baby’s brain.
“A balanced intake of lipids by pregnant women is necessary for the normal brain formation of the unborn child,” said Noriko Osumi, a professor at Tohoku University.
“Dietary lipid contains fatty acids such as omega-6 and omega-3 that are essential nutrients for many animals and humans,” she added.
In an animal study, the researchers noticed that when female mice were fed an omega-6-rich/omega-3-poor diet, their offsprings were born with a smaller brain and showed abnormal emotional behaviour in adulthood.
According to Osumi, the brain abnormality found in the offsprings of mice, was caused by a premature aging of fetal neural stem cells that produce brain cells.
The premature aging was promoted by an imbalance of oxides of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, Osumi said.