Children of women who took DHA supplements during pregnancy are no smarter than peers whose mothers didn’t take the supplements, a recent study concludes.

In the third follow-up of children born during a trial of DHA supplementation in pregnancy, there were no significant differences in IQ or other cognitive processes at age 7 – the same result researchers found in earlier rounds of testing.

The omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an important nutrient for the brain, is needed for development during pregnancy, said lead study author Jacqueline Gould, of the Child Nutrition Research Center at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute in Adelaide.

“The main source of DHA for the growing baby is the mother’s diet. However, the exact amount of DHA that needs to be eaten by the mother is unknown,” Gould told Reuters Health in an email.

“DHA-rich fish oil supplements have been marketed by manufacturers as beneficial for child brain development. Use of these supplements has become common in developed countries, but the effects of DHA have been unclear,” Gould said.

DHA supplementation in pregnancy