Docosahexaenoic Acid: Outlining the Therapeutic Nutrient Potential to Combat the Prenatal Alcohol-Induced Insults on Brain Development.
Adv Nutr. 2020 Jan 27. Epub 2020 Jan 27. PMID: 31989167
Bradley A Feltham
Brain development is markedly affected by prenatal alcohol exposure, leading to cognitive and behavioral problems in the children. Protecting neuronal damage from prenatal alcohol could improve neural connections and functioning of the brain. DHA, a n-3 (ω-3) long-chain PUFA, is involved in the development of neurons. Insufficient concentrations of DHA impair neuronal development and plasticity of synaptic junctions and affect neurotransmitter concentrations in the brain. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy decreases the maternal DHA status and reduces the placental transfer of DHA to the fetus, resulting in less DHA being available for brain development. It is important to know whether DHA could induce beneficial effects on various physiological functions that promote neuronal development. This review will discuss the current evidence for the beneficial role of DHA in protecting against neuronal damage and its potential in mitigating the teratogenic effects of alcohol.