The International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Association (IADSA) has launched two new Mind the Gap resources explaining the critical importance of omega-3 and folic acid in maternal and infant nutrition.
“Omega-3: The Making of You” addresses a baby’s first 1,000 days of life, from conception to the age of two, which experts believe are the most important in our lives. It explores how DHA omega-3 is vital at this stage for the development of the brain and eyes during pregnancy.
It also looks at the link between omega-3 and a reduction in the risk of pre-term birth, which results in the death of 1 million babies every year. Scientific evidence is outlined showing that DHA supplementation during pregnancy can help to increase the length of gestation in women, especially those with low levels of omega-3 in their diet. The new omega-3 resource was created with support from GOED, the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega 3s, which is a member of IADSA.
Also new to Mind the Gap is “Folic Acid: The Best of Both Worlds,”which explores the benefits of a combined folic acid strategy that encompasses both fortification and supplements.
Scientists agree that consumption of sufficient folate before conception and during early pregnancy significantly lowers the risk of giving birth to a baby with an abnormality to the brain or spine—known as a neural tube defect (NTD).
However, a large proportion of pregnancies are unplanned, so many countries have put in place programs to fortify foods with folic acid (the form of folate added to fortified foods and supplements). As a result, rates of NTDs have fallen. But more needs to be done, since globally there are still 18.6 NTD births per 10,000 live births.
The new Mind the Gap resource from IADSA highlights that in the U.S., rates of NTDs are among the lowest in the world at just five per 10,000 live births.It explains how this can be attributed to America’s combined approach of both fortifying foods with folic acid and recommending that women of child-bearing age consume a folic acid supplement daily.
“Mind the Gap is changing the way we communicate positive stories about supplements. It provides a powerful visual tool, in both digital and physical formats, to explain the importance of supplementation in key areas of health and well-being,” said Cynthia Rousselot, director of technical and regulatory affairs at IADSA. “Our new omega-3 and folic acid stories complement the existing vitamin D resources and we are already planning further topics for the Mind the Gap series.”
For more information, visit www.iadsa.org/mind-the-gap.