An essential component of the brain, eyes and nerve cells i s doco sah ex ae noic acid (DHA), an omega-3 essential fatty acid (see page 19), which th e body uses for speci fi c functi ons. This fatty acid makes up 60 percent of an adult's brain weight and 2 0 percent of a b aby' s.

In women, the first pregnancy-related need for fatty acids occurs during the three months before conception, when cells in the ovaries are dividing. Healthy, viable eggs need DHA to grow and develop. DHA is also an important nutrient during pregnancy, for lowering the mother's blood pressure and prolonging gestation as well as ensuring the development of the growing fetus ( see page 5 9).

According to Professor Michael Crawford of the Institute o f Br ai n Chemistry at the University of North London, "DHA is the backbone of the brain's signaling structures. It plays an especially important part in th e growth and development of the fetal br ai n an d durin g a b aby' s first si x months of life."

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