Monday, February 19, 2007

Seafood IS brainfood

Yet another source verifies that women should NOT skip eating seafood while pregnant. The Lancet printed a study of data collected in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). The study was designed to see if seafood consumption during pregnancy affected children's neuorlogical development, including their scores on behavioral and intelligence testing. The results speak for themsleves:

"After adjustment, maternal seafood intake during pregnancy of less than 340 g per week was associated with increased risk of their children being in the lowest quartile for verbal intelligence quotient (IQ) (no seafood consumption, odds ratio [OR] 1·48, 95% CI 1·16–1·90; some, 1·09, 0·92–1·29; overall trend, p=0·004), compared with mothers who consumed more than 340 g per week. Low maternal seafood intake was also associated with increased risk of suboptimum outcomes for prosocial behaviour, fine motor, communication, and social development scores. For each outcome measure, the lower the intake of seafood during pregnancy, the higher the risk of suboptimum developmental outcome."

In other words, children born to moms with the lowest seafood consumption during pregnancy had the worst outcomes in all areas: behavioral, intelligence, motor skills, everything. The authors of the study come to a similar conclusion as an earlier study by the Harvard School of Public Health, saying that warnings against fish intake for pregnant women do more harm than good.

I love it when the scientific evidence agrees with my opinion and my palate, and we are encouraged to eat something healthy and delicious rather than told it's scary. I hate it when women are given conflicting information, and I am sure there are women who avoided seafood while they were pregnant thinking they were doing best by their children-to-be, and now feel frustrated and guilty about one more thing.

I am sure there will still be many articles and websites that still mistakenly warn pregnant women to stay away from seafood. (Just like articles on weight loss that say to limit nuts. *twitch twitch*) Here's to hoping some of these women do some fact checking of their own.


eg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eg said...

SO true...although the conflicting information can be so diffucult to escape at times...and depending on where you live the conflicts can vary. Good to hear fish is so healthy, though that could make mothers who did not eat much of it for whatever reason feel guilty yet again. The reasons to feel guilty being myriad. Good to hear the fish oil benefits outwheighed the mercury/dioxon/pcb- but that shit still cannot be good for us.
And worrisone is the fact that greed outwheighs need and there may be NO FISH LEFT in our lifetime! WTF!

Jennifer said...

I too worry about the potential harm from pollution. Buy farmed fish, you get fish on drugs. Buy wild fish, you get fish hooked on heavy metal.

Though, I didn't have even the tiniest bite of any kind of fish while pregnant, and my otherwise perfectly healthy child has ADHD with secondary behaviors in the autistic spectrum (very mild). Honestly? I don't feel even the slightest shred of guilt. People have been trying to pin the blame on me since the symptoms started to occur. It's an organic brain chemistry imbalance. I was told not to eat fish, I didn't eat the fish. Some mothers who happen to have a kid like this who also didn't eat fish might feel like they are to blame. I don't think they are. I don't feel that I am either.

Hilary said...

Jennifer, glad you don't feel guilty.

And yes eg and Jennifer, the fish situation is so full of troubling information. I have heard we will be out of fish due to overfishing soon. And, it's a pain to dodge the farmed and the likely-to-be-full-of-metals. I found a great source of frozen wild salmon at a reasonable price, and I try to add in others randomly.

eg said...

I agree, you shouldn't feel guilty. Doctor's tried to make mother's feel guilty that they caused autism for years, before they knew anything about brain chemistry. There was just a big announcement this week that they've discovered a gene complex linked to autism. So I think you are right- it's not the fish or lack of it.
Good luck!