Dr. James G. Elliott, Ph.D.
July 5, 2011
What is BrainStrong™?
BrainStrong™ is the name of a new category of supplements positioned for brain and eye development in babies, toddlers and children and for memory improvement in 55+ age adults. All four products in this line rely on life’sDHA™ the same DHA that is used exclusively in infant formulas. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that has been shown to be essential for brain and eye development in babies and young children.
These four products are manufactured by i-Health Brands, a subsidiary of DSM, an international life sciences company that is the leader in manufacturing of vitamins and dietary supplement ingredients for human nutrition and health.
BrainStrong™ Adult is an optimized supplement for adults 55+ to support brain health and to improve memory. Each serving provides 900 mg DHA and 200 mg of a proprietary blend of L-theanine and green tea extract.
Its claim is: Clinically shown to improve memory
Although we continue to need DHA throughout the life span this product is focused on adults aged 55+ based on a new clinical study (the MIDAS study) in which 55+ year old subjects with a mild memory problem were given 900 mg DHA or a placebo daily for 24 weeks. The subjects in the DHA group had almost double the reduction in errors on a test that measures learning and memory performance versus the subjects on placebo after 24 weeks (21). If taken daily this product should help protect against normal age-related decline in cognition and mental clarity. However, don’t expect immediate results. Subjects on the MIDAS study took it for 24 weeks before seeing these results.
BrainStrong™ Toddler and BrainStrong™ Kids
BrainStrong™ Toddler is a source of DHA for brain health development in children 1 to 3 years of age. BrainStrong™ Kids is an optimized source of DHA for kids ages 4 to 12 to help the brain, retina of the eye and heart continue to develop and function properly.
Both claim: Support Brain Development and Function
Infants up to 1 year of age get DHA from breast milk or infant formula fortified with DHA but the need for DHA does not stop there. Toddlers also need DHA for their developing brain, eyes and nervous system. This product provides 100 mg/day DHA to meet that need and 90 mg of vitamin C.
Children ages 4 to 12 continue to grow but do not outgrow their need for DHA. At this age they are eating the same foods at the older family members but they may refuse to eat fish which contain the omega-3s. This product provides 100 mg/day DHA in a form more acceptable to them.
BrainStrong™ Prenatal contains a complete multivitamin tablet formulated to meet the nutritional needs of pregnant women plus a soft gel of DHA. The tablet contains all the essential vitamins and some minerals at levels recommended for pregnant women including folic acid which is essential for prevention of neutral tube defects in babies. The soft gel contains 350 mg of DHA for the baby’s brain and eye development.
Its claim is: Supports Brain and Eye Development for Your Baby
There are numbers of studies that demonstrate that DHA is essential for development of the brain and eye (1-13). If the mother’s stores of DHA are low the baby will be born with low levels in the brain which may affect its cognitive development. Studies show that prenatal DHA supplementation resulted in mental development in children such as improved psychomotor development at 2.5 years of age and improved attention skills at 5 years of age (14-20). After birth the newborn should continue to receive DHA either from breast milk or from infant formula. Most infant formulas now contain DHA and in 99% of these the source is life’sDHA from Martek, the same as in the BrainStrong™ products. Pregnant and nursing women in the U.S. consume on average 60-80 mg of DHA a day from food and drink which is only 20-25% of the recommended intake. That's why DHA is one of the most important supplements for pregnancy and this product contains 350 mg DHA which is fully adequate.
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