This review examines the role of nutrients in child development and outlines the key nutrients identified as potentially important to neurodevelopment among high fish consumers in the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study (SCDNS). It describes the clinical assessment of these nutrients in the blood and breast milk samples collected from the cohort of 300 pregnant women who were recruited, at their first antenatal visit, on the SCDNS. These key nutrients include the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA), docosohexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA), both of which may affect neurodevelopment in the later stages of fetal growth. Only DHA, however, is strongly associated with fish consumption, the predominant source of the neurotoxicant methyl mercury (MeHg). Any benefits of increased selenium status on neurodevelopment are likely to accrue via detoxification of MeHg during fetal growth, while benefits of optimal iodine or thyroid status are likely to be directly related to neurodevelopment during late fetal growth. Unlike LCPUFA, Se, and I, the status of the B vitamins, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and riboflavin are unlikely to be closely related to fish consumption but the status of each of these B vitamins is likely to impinge on overall status of choline, which is expected to have direct effects on neurodevelopment both prenatally and postnatally and may also impact on MeHg toxicity. Choline status, together with the status of two other candidate nutrients, zinc and copper, which are also likely to have effects on neurodevelopment prenatally and postnatally, are expected to have some correlation with fish consumption.
- child development
- long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids