New study findings discover the importance of natural vitamin E in child early brain development

14:20 | 20/11/2017 Society

(VEN) - It’s widely known that key nutrient like DHA is vital for early brain development but recent research has found that natural vitamin E (NVE), together with lutein can better support DHA in boosting early brain development.

First years of life is a critical stage of development that forms the foundation for a child's future health, well-being and learning. Researchers have shown that half of a person’s intelligence potential is developed by age four, and that nutrition can have a lasting effect on intellectual capacity, personality, and social behaviour. During the first two years of a child’s life, brain cells can make up to 1,000 new connections every second - a once-in-a-lifetime speed1. Different nutrients are needed to support the brain development through this growth stage. Once children get it right, proper nutrition may help to ensure children’s brain development and support them to grow, learn and thrive.

DHA, omega-3 fatty acid, is well known as “brain nourishing” that boosts brain development. However, DHA can be oxidized without antioxidants and some DHA also need to be activated by other nutrients. Protecting DHA from oxidization as well as activating them is a way to ensure good nutrition for brain development.

International and Vietnamese scientists and healthcare experts have gathered in a symposium named “New scientific breakthrough in brain development” hosted by the Vietnam Pediatric Association in cooperation with the global healthcare company Abbott. Dr. Lisa Renzi from Psychology Faculty, Georgia University (US) & Dr. Matthew J Kuchan - Abbott Nutrition’s Senior Principal Research Scientist, Global Cognition Platform Lead, Center for Nutrition Learning and Memory, University of Illinois have shared the latest scientific research findings on nutrients for early brain development, especially, findings on how they can work together to protect DHA and also power up DHA for brain development.

Baby’s brain prefers natural vitamin E over synthetic vitamin E

Dr. Matthew J Kuchan shared the latest scientific research findings on nutrients for early brain development

Recently the important roles of natural vitamin E has been discovered: Natural vitamin E is 1.5 times as active as synthetic vitamin E. Baby’s brain prefers natural vitamin E over synthetic vitamin E. The areas of the infant brain associated with visual, memory and language development have a greater concentration of natural vitamin E as opposed to the synthetic version. Natural vitamin E might protect DHA from damage by free radicals. Natural vitamin E, together with DHA and lutein, have been found in areas of the brain important for learning. The combination of lutein, natural vitamin E and DHA produced more connections in brain cells than with DHA alone. Research shows that these three vital nutrients - when combined - stimulate 81% more brain connections compared with DHA alone in research models, and provide more nutrients for faster brain connections. These brain connections contribute to children’s brain function and learning.

“Researches prove that natural vitamin E and lutein help to protect cell membranes and omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA from oxidative damage. DHA is particularly vulnerable to damage by oxidation and the two nutrients can work as antioxidants to protect DHA. Moreover, in my most recent study, we have found that infant brain preferentially accumulates natural vitamin E over synthetic one. Since natural and synthetic vitamin E are structurally different. Natural vitamin E, or RRR-tocopherol, is more biologically active than the synthetic forms of vitamin E, which are typically found in fortified foods and supplements5.” Dr. Kuchan’s recent research is extensively on the differences between natural and synthetic vitamin E on brain development conducted in 2016 with supports from Abbott, the global healthcare company.

Where can Natural Vitamin E be found?

Natural Vitamin E is found to be the predominant form of vitamin E (>70% of total vitamin E) in breast milk. It can also be found in natural foods and extracted from plant-based foods.

Food rich in Natural Vitamin E include: Nuts & Seeds like almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, and sunflower seeds; Vegetables: spinach, broccoli, asparagus, pumpkin; Vegetable Oils: sunflower oil, safflower oil, soybean oil; Seafood: fish such as salmon and trout, oysters…

On food packaging and labels, Natural Vitamin E is commonly listed as “RRR-alpha-tocopherol” or “d-alpha tocopherol”. The synthetic forms are usually listed as “all-rac-α-tocopherol” or “dl-alpha tocopherol”.

Mr. Douglas Kuo, General Manager of Abbott Vietnam, said: “For almost 130 years, we’ve pursued advancements in science, technology, medicine, and nutrition to deliver lasting impact and empower people to live a full life around the world. We understand that proper nutrition is the foundation for living the best life possible, for children greater opportunity to maximize their future well-being, live better and achieve more across the life span. We wish that the latest science and best practices shared can add values to local healthcare professionals’ daily consultancy and ensure the child cognitive development through good nutrition”.

Tuyet Mai