Thursday, 26 September 2013

What To Eat When Pregnant That Will Eat Increase Your Baby’s IQ

Does taking iron supplements increase your baby’s IQ?

Only if they’re deficient in iron. And unless you’re living in a poor country along the lines of Africa, that’s unlikely. 95% of infants get an adequate amount of iron in the United States. If you are deficient, then you should definitely take supplementations. However, if you’re average, which is good in this case, it won’t affect your child’s IQ. Two randomized controlled trials, the golden standard of science, were done on supplementing infants and no effect was found on their IQ’s.(1)

The bottom line? Iron supplementation does not affect the IQ’s of normal infants.

Does taking thiamine (vitamin B1), vitamin C, or vitamin B’s increase your baby’s IQ?

They ran a study in two different locations, with randomized placebos and - in one town, all of the different vitamins had large effects. In the other site though, none of the vitamins had an effect. What to make of this? It means there’s not enough data to be certain at this point. However, since it is very unlikely that taking supplements will harm the baby, and it is decently likely that it will help it (though maybe not on the IQ front), it’s worth it. Also, you should be taking your vitamins too! Vitamin decreases your risk for colorectal cancer, which sounds exceedingly shitty.  Here’s an article on how to get your kid (and yourself) to take their vitamins regularly. (1)

In short, take vitamin B and C supplements because it might increase IQ, but the chance is low.

Does taking zinc during pregnancy increase your baby’s IQ?

Nope. Pregnant women were given 25 mg of zinc or a placebo during their third trimester of pregnancy and they were tested five years later. No increase in IQ was found. (1)

Does eating omega-3’s increase your baby’s IQ?

The short answer is probably, but only a little. Twelve studies were done where either the mother ate omega-3 supplements while pregnant or lactating, or the infant was fed omega-3 enriched formula. The results were a small increase in IQ of 3 points.  A good way to remember this is omega-3’s increase a baby’s IQ by 3. (1)(2)

The bottom line? Omega-3s during pregnancy and while breastfeeding increases IQ by 3 points.

(1) Protzko, John, Joshua Aronson, and Clancy Blair. "How to Make a Young Child Smarter Evidence From the Database of Raising Intelligence." Sage Journals (2013): n. pag. Web.
(2)However, it’s quite probable that upon more studies, the effect will turn out to be smaller. The 95% confidence interval was between 0.043 and 0.429 standard deviation units, which means that it could likely be a negligible effect. I recommend keeping an eye out for the latest science and making sure to check the effect size. Don’t let scientists fool you by saying it increases the IQ statistically significantly. That just means the effect is unlikely to be by chance, not that the effect is significant in the usual sense of the term.

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