Dietary intake of natural sources of docosahexaenoic acid and folate in pregnant women of three European cohorts

C. Franke, S. Verwied-Jorky, C. Campoy, M. Trak-Fellermeier, T. Decsi, V. Dolz, B. Koletzko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Folic acid plays a fundamental role in cell division and differentiation. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) has been associated with infantile neurological and cognitive development. Thus, optimal intrauterine development and growth requires adequate supply of these nutrients during pregnancy. Methods: Healthy pregnant women, aged 18-41 years, were recruited in Granada (Spain; n = 62), Munich (Germany; n = 97) and Pécs (Hungary; n = 152). We estimated dietary DHA and folate intake in weeks 20 (w20) and 30 of gestation (w30) using a food frequency questionnaire with specific focus on the dietary sources of folate and DHA. Results: Both w20 and w30 Spanish participants had significantly higher daily DHA intakes (155 ± 13 and 161 ± 9 mg/1,000 kcal) than the German (119 ± 9 and 124 ± 12 mg/1,000 kcal; p = 0.002) and Hungarian participants (122 ± 8 and 125 ± 10 mg/1,000 kcal; p = 0.005). Hungarian women had higher folate intakes in w20 and w30 (149 ± 5 and 147 ± 6 μg/1,000 kcal) than Spanish (112 ± 2 and 110 ± 2 μg/1,000 kcal; p < 0.001) and German participants (126 ± 4 and 120 ± 6 μg/1,000 kcal; p < 0.001), respectively. Conclusion: Dietary DHA and folate intake of pregnant women differs significantly across the three European cohorts. Only 7% of the participants reached the recommended folate intake during pregnancy, whereas nearly 90% reached the DHA recommended intake of 200 mg per day.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-174
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Nutrition and Metabolism
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2008


  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Folate
  • Nutrition
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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