N-3 fatty acids and pregnancy outcomes

T. Decsi, Berthold Koletzko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose of review: To discuss new data from the literature on the relationship between the supply of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids during pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes, evaluated as the fatty acid composition of blood and breast milk, fetal and infantile development and maternal health. Recent findings: Supplementation of alpha-linolenic acid in high doses or docosahexaenoic acid in low doses did not result in a significant enhancement of the blood docosahexaenoic acid status of the offspring. In contrast, supplementation of docosahexaenoic acid in relatively high doses led to significant increases in infantile docosahexaenoic acid values and to a significant enhancement of breast milk docosahexaenoic acid content. Electroretinogram data obtained during the first week of life and pattern-reversal visual evoked potentials investigated at 50 and 66 weeks postconception were significantly associated with the docosahexaenoic acid status of the infant at birth. Children whose mothers received docosahexaenoic acid supplementation during pregnancy and lactation scored better in mental processing tests carried out at 4 years than children whose mothers received placebo. Summary: Beneficial health outcomes are more likely to result from supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid itself, rather than its precursor alpha-linolenic acid. Trials have shown that a higher maternal docosahexaenoic acid intake during pregnancy may be favourable for the visual and cognitive development of the offspring. The significant positive association between maternal docosahexaenoic acid intake during pregnancy and the children's mental processing scores at 4 years suggest that optimization of the docosahexaenoic acid status of expectant women may offer long-term developmental benefits to their children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-166
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
Volume8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005

Fingerprint

pregnancy outcome
Docosahexaenoic Acids
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Pregnancy Outcome
docosahexaenoic acid
fatty acids
Mothers
pregnancy
Pregnancy
alpha-Linolenic Acid
alpha-linolenic acid
Human Milk
breast milk
dosage
cognitive development
electroretinography
Women's Rights
Intelligence Tests
evoked potentials
Visual Evoked Potentials

Keywords

  • Alpha-linolenic acid
  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Fetal development
  • Infant nutrition
  • Pregnancy outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology
  • Food Science
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

Cite this

N-3 fatty acids and pregnancy outcomes. / Decsi, T.; Koletzko, Berthold.

In: Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, Vol. 8, No. 2, 03.2005, p. 161-166.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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