Friday, February 20, 2009

Nutrients for Children's Brain Development

Often parents especially new one wonder what nutrients that are needed for their newborn babies. These are important nutrients for children's brain development:

Gangliosides (GA)

GA is a type of compound that occurs naturally in cell membranes. It is found in high concentrations in the brain, particularly n the gray matter of the brain (thinking and memory areas) as well as the central nervous system. GA is also found abundantly in the neuronal membranes, particularly at the synapses where they play an important role in the interactions between cells. Efficient message transmission leads to better learning ability in your child.

GA can promote neuronal growth and developments which leads to increased synapse formation in the brain. This increase in synapses formation can help improve learning ability. Research has shown that GA may enhance learning ability and memory retention.

In summary:
• GA is a type of fat which is highly concentrated in the brain.
• GA helps with brain cell connections.
• More brain cell connections lead to faster learning.
• Research shows that GA may enhance learning ability and memory retention.

Neuron connections.
Neuron and their connections.
Sialic Acid (SA)

SA is a type of substance that supports brain growth and neural transmission. It is an important component of brain tissues. Children's brain cell membranes contain 20 times more SA than other types of cell membranes in the body.

Faster neural transmission leads to better learning ability in your children. Studies on mammals have shown that SA is associated with improved learning ability. Breast milk is a rich source of SA and researchers suggest that SA is linked to increased brain cell connections in children.
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)

DHA molecule.
A DHA molecule.
Remember the synapses? DHA is used by the body as a building material for the formation of synapses. DHA is highly concentrated in the membrane of synapses compared to other places in the body. More synapses indicate increased brain
development and better learning.

DHA also helps with neurotransmission. When information (in the foem of an electric signal) arrive at a synapse, it is taken across to the next neuron by chemicals called neurotransmitters. Changes in the membrane wall allow the information to go through to the next neuron. DHA makes it easier for this change to occur. If the brain does not receive enough DHA, the strength of the information becomes weaker, and less connections will be made.

What about myelin? DHA and other fats in the breast milk contribute direct to brain growth by providing the right substances for manufacturing myelin and insulating them so that these pathways can carry information more quickly, leading to better learning.

Neurotransmitter and synapse.
Neurotransmitter at synapse.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)

Essential fatty acids are also important because your child body needs EFAs for proper growth and better neural development as they are also an important component of cell membranes. EFAs cannot be made by our bodies, so we have to obtain them from the foods we eat.

Other nutrient

Besides GA, SA, DHA and EFAs, Iron is also an important nutrient for brain development. It is critical for maintaining an adequate number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, which help to oxygenate the brain and help it grows. It is also needed for the production of neurotransmitters and myelin. Iron deficiency has been inked to alterations in neurotransmission and delays in brain development of young children.

All the above key substances, as well as a whole bundle of other nutrients, help to promote growing and learning in your child.


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