Research Summary

Maternal Docosa- Hexaenoic Acid supplementation and offspring Neurodevelopment in India (DHANI-2)

The prevalence of underweight and stunted children in India is among the highest in the world. Child under-nutrition and stunting have enormous consequences for nations’ productivity and failure to tackle malnutrition diminishes the potential for economic growth. Studies show a strong association between nutrition and cognitive development. This link is the strongest during the first 1000 days. One strategy to enhance neurodevelopment among children during these 1000 days can be maternal DHA supplementation. DHA is a structural component of human brain and retina, and can be derived from marine algae, fatty fish and marine oils. Since diets in India are largely devoid of such products, the plasma DHA levels in Indian populations are quite low. DHA is safe to consume during pregnancy and lactation. Thus we propose to supplement pregnant Indian women from <20 weeks gestation through 6 months postpartum, to ascertain the effect of DHA on:

1. Infant neurodevelopment at 12 months.

2. Infant body size and morbidity patterns through 12 months.

In addition, we will collect biochemical indices (blood and breast-milk) from mother-child dyads to estimate net changes in their DHA levels in response to supplementation.