Better Learning for Your Baby? Faster Brain Connections Could Be Crucial
Nutrition is of paramount importance when it comes to your child’s development. And for your baby’s brain development, among the many nutrients you need to make sure your child gets, there is one that you should know more about—Sphingomyelin!
Babies are incredible (and adorable!) learning machines. From crying as soon as they are born, they rapidly discover how to communicate effectively—starting from saying mommy, ABCs, and learning the challenging mathematical concepts in the later stage. Babies’ brains grow at an amazing rate!
In the early years, the brain is a hive of growth activity, making crucial brain connections that determine memory, intelligence and language skills. Together with love and nurture, parents can support this development with the right nutrition.
And with the many nutrients that can help support brain connections effectively, there is one nutrient in particular that you should know more about—Sphingomyelin.
More Connections, Faster Connections
How does Sphingomyelin work? Before we look at Sphingomyelin, we first need to understand how brain connections work...
The powerhouse of your exceptional child is his or her brain. And when it comes to the brain, the connections in it, and the quality of the connections between neurons (brain cells), determine—to oversimplify—your child’s brainpower. Famously, examinations of Albert Einstein’s brain discovered that the physicist’s brain was significantly more connected1 than the average male’s.
It’s clear that connections are king when it comes to smarts, so how do brain connections work?
Neurons connect with each other and transmit messages to and from different parts of the brain. They also connect the brain to the eyes and other sensory organs.
In short, when it comes to your child’s brain development, more connections—and faster connections—are good. These connections have been found to have an impact on a variety of cognitive skills.
The Need for Speed: Myelin in Brain Connections
To help brain connections go faster, there’s one secret ingredient: myelin.
Nerve impulses can go faster if axons in nerve cells are heavily coated with myelin. This works much like the rubber coating wrapped around an electric wire. The Myelin sheath wraps around the length of the axon.
Myelin makes the brain cell stronger and prevents impulses or current from “leaking out”. As a result, it increases the speed of neural impulses2
The Link Between Learning and Faster Brain Connections
Sphingomyelin in Your Baby’s Daily Nutrition
Now that we’ve taken a look at the role myelin plays in brain connections, how can we use this to help our children’s development? It’s simple: 70% to 85% of the myelin sheath is composed of lipids (another word for fats),7 and one integral component of myelin is the phospholipid sphingomyelin.
With sphingomyelin being so important in the process of myelination, it’s no wonder then that this nutrient accounts for up to 36% of the total lipid content of breastmilk!8 Thankfully, Sphingomyelin can be found in dairy products and milk formula, as well as eggs and meats. This, therefore, makes it easier for parents to ensure their children can have the benefits of sphingomyelin in their daily nutrition.
An educational material brought to you by Wyeth Nutrition