Mothers always want to give the best to their Children, and it does not matter they are inside their womb or grown up. Many mothers will take supplement when they are pregnant, but supplement can be poison when taking inappropriately. Fish oil and cod liver oil are the most common supplement during maternity, as they both contain EPA and DHA, which are good for baby brain. Fish oil and cod liver oil are similar, but they are two different oils. So what is the different?
Fish oil is extracted from the whole body of the deep-sea oily fish. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, but doesn’t have much vitamin A and vitamin D. Omega-3 fatty acid is important for pregnancy, fetal development, breastfeeding, and reducing the risk of premature birth. Nevertheless, it is in general good for baby’s heart, mental, skin, liver, and immunity and prevent mental health disorders for those at risk and reduce symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Cod liver oil is pressed from the liver of cod fish. It has less omega-3 fatty acids but rich in vitamin A and D that are beneficial for mothers’ and babies’ immune function, bone health and development. Vitamin D is vital for calcium and phosphorus absorption and prevent preeclampsia. Vitamin A is necessary for baby’s embryonic growth; the growth of organs and systems. Also, vitamin A helps with mother’s postpartum tissue repair, fat metabolism, and the maintenance of normal vision.
So What is the Right Doses?
According to Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council.For pregnancy: 800 mcg vitamin A, 5.0 mcg vitamin D and 115mg omega-3 are needed daily. For lactation: 1100 mcg vitamin A, 5.0 mcg vitamin D and 145mg omega-3 are needed daily.
However, an excessive amount of vitamin A can cause birth defect and liver toxicity. Most prenatal vitamin contain at least part of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, but certain over-the-counter brands, multivitamins and fortified food such as edible oils and fats, cereal grains and milk, contain a significant amount of preformed vitamin A.
Therefore, it is important not to take any additional supplement that is not recommended. To be safe, it is best to stick to the upper limit of 3000mcg vitamin A per day and 80mcg Vitamin D per day.
No Upper Limited was set for Omega-3 because there is no known level at which adverse effects may occur.
So Where can You Get Omega-3, Vitamin A and Vitamin D apart from Supplement and Fish?
You don’t need to look far, as omega-3 can be found in:
- Oily Fishes
Vitamin A can be obtained from:
- Dark Leafy Vegetables
While, vitamin D can be synthesized by ourselves with exposure under sunlight more than 15 minutes every day. As well as be obtained from:
- Other Fortified Foods
Knowing that through a healthy diet, you can obtain these important vitamins via food and therefore there is no need to take supplements.
To conclude, tried to get sufficient omega-3 from diet. If taking supplement, choose fish oil rather than cod liver oil if you are pregnant. Moreover, always check a product’s label or consult the doctor or dietitian before taking supplement.