Smart Science For Smart and Healthy Babies Alpha GPC for Baby’s Brain
Choline is a critical nutrient during pregnancy, since it is required for healthy fetal brain development.* The amount of choline a pregnant mother gets can influence her baby’s future learning, cognitive function, and memory.* Research suggests that insufficient choline can have negative, lifelong effects on brain function. The adequate intake (AI) for pregnant women for choline is 480 mg. (Lactating moms need even more; their AI is set at 520 mg. Research shows that babies who breastfeed exclusively for 6 months get 120 mg per day from their mothers’ milk.) Alpha GPC is a potent source of highly bioavailable choline.* It provides more choline than phosphatidylcholine or soy lecithin, two more common forms of this nutrient. The choline in Alpha GPC penetrates the blood-brain barrier to nourish baby’s rapidly developing brain.*
Alpha GPC is in phospholipid form, the same type of phospholipid that is a major component of cell membranes. This makes it easy for the body to recognize, and is thus more absorbable.* In addition, it amplifies the amount of omega-3 absorbed by the body.* Omega-3 Fats For Motor Skills And More
Folate or Folic Acid?
- Numerous studies demonstrate the importance of omega-3 fats during pregnancy. Here’s a quick roundup of some of them:
- Omega-3 fats, especially DHA, are concentrated in the brain. The brain has the greatest need for omega-3 during the fetal growth period and until age two.
- Women who take supplemental fish oil during pregnancy have higher levels of omega-3 in their breast milk for weeks after delivery. Breastfed infants have higher DHA levels at age 1 compared to formula fed babies; higher DHA levels in infants are associated with better hand-eye coordination.
- The DHA advantage lasts for up to 7 years. Children whose mothers took fish oil had better hand-eye coordination at age 2 ½. Children who had higher levels of DHA in their cord blood at birth achieved higher motor skill scores at age 7.
- Women who supplement with fish oil during pregnancy are less likely to have premature or underweight babies. Women with a history of pregnancy complications show the most benefit.
- Most adults don’t consume enough omega-3 rich fish. Seafood is often contaminated with mercury and other toxins, which can be especially concerning to pregnant women. Supplementation can address both these issues.
Most pregnant women are aware of the need for either folate or folic acid during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects in babies. Both are shown to be beneficial, so what’s the difference?
Folate is the natural form of the vitamin otherwise known as B9. It is found in dark leafy greens, black-eyed peas, lentils, and other foods. Folic acid is its synthetic counterpart (it was invented in a lab in the 1940s) and is added to fortified grain products. Some studies suggest that folic acid can negatively impact health in the long run.
At UpSpring, “no artificial anything” is our mantra, and that includes folic acid. We use only the natural form of B9, folate. Women who are pregnant (or planning to become pregnant) should aim to get at least 800 mcg of folate per day from diet and supplementation.