Prenatal and Infant Health

Increased Length of Gestation Linked with Self-reported Omega-3 Use during Pregnancy in Women at High Risk due to Psychiatric and Psychotropic Use

This article at a glance In this report the authors demonstrate that omega-3 fatty acids should be researched further as a variable to decrease obstetrical risk in women with psychiatric disorders Further research is needed as the data is consistent with the existing literature that omega-3 fatty acids can lengthen gestation. It is not yet clear that omega-3 intake offers a robust prevention of prematurity on its own, but may modify risk in an at-risk sample.   The impact of psychiatric illness during pregnancy is generally an increased risk of obstetrical…

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Should Infant Formula Provide Only DHA, or DHA along with Arachidonic Acid?

Berthold Koletzko1, Susan E. Carlson2, Johannes B. van Goudoever3 1Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Dr. von Hauner Children’s Hospital, Univ. of Munich Medical Center, München, Germany 2Univ. of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS, USA 3Depts. of Paediatrics, Emma Children’s Hospital, Academic Medical Center, and VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands   Infancy and early childhood are characterized by very rapid growth and tissue differentiation, which induce extremely high nutrient needs per kg bodyweight, while body stores are still very limited and thus the infant cannot compensate well for unbalanced nutrient supplies…

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Sex Differences in the Effects of Omega-3s?

In biomedical research, metabolic and functional differences between the sexes for specific nutrients are often not specifically addressed and fully appreciated. Fundamental physiological processes that underlie the functioning of most organs are thought to be more similar than different between the sexes. So an interesting question is to what extent the function of essential fatty acids in health and disease is sex-dependent. Intuitively, dose-response differences may be expected, but do omega-3s and other PUFA serve qualitatively different purposes in male and female physiology? Long-chain omega-3 PUFA play an extremely important role…

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DHA Supplementation of Atopic Mothers during Pregnancy Reduces Respiratory Symptoms in Their Children

Since omega-3 fatty acids are known to have anti-inflammatory activity, and allergic disease is typified by the active release of inflammatory mediators, several studies have investigated whether omega-3 fatty acid intake can lower the incidence of allergies. Within this line of thought, clinical researchers have investigated the possibility that the omega-3 status of the mother during pregnancy affects the incidence of allergic reactions in her offspring. This refers to eczema, asthma, and rhinitis, with symptoms including bronchial hyper-responsiveness (wheezing and difficulty breathing), coughing, irritated skin and rash, and nasal discharge….

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Towards Faster Weaning from Parenteral Nutrition in Neonates with Short Bowel Syndrome

Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS) is a complication of low gestational age pre-term infants (<37 wks gestational age) who develop necrotizing enterocolitis, as a result of the surgical removal of a significant part of the inflamed and damaged intestinal tissue. SBS can also result from the need to resect a portion of the small intestine in neonates in several other disorders involving malformations, obstructions, or damage to the intestinal tract. Congenital cases of short small intestinal length occur, but are relatively rare. Loss of a large part of the small intestine…

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Eating Fish in Pregnancy Linked to Higher Birthweight and Lower Risk of Preterm Birth

Fish and shellfish consumption during pregnancy provides the fetus with several nutrients that may be scarce in maternal diets, such as selenium and long-chain omega-3 PUFAs (n-3 LC-PUFAs), which are essential for optimum brain growth and function. Some, but not all, prospective cohort studies have reported that mothers who consume seafood during pregnancy may deliver infants of higher birthweight. Some intervention studies with n-3 LC-PUFAs have reported higher birthweights among supplemented women, especially where maternal intakes of n-3 LC-PUFAs have been very low. However, many studies have observed little or…

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Attention and Working Memory of Term Infants Unrelated to Prenatal Maternal DHA-Supplementation

One of the most important reasons to assure the adequate intake of long-chain omega-3 PUFAs (n-3 LC-PUFAs) during pregnancy and early infancy is the importance of these fatty acids, especially DHA, in the structural and functional development of the brain. Although DHA is found in cell membranes throughout the brain, it is especially concentrated in the hippocampus, basal ganglia and frontal lobes, which are involved in cognition and executive functions. Animals and humans fed diets deficient in n-3 PUFAs during fetal and early postnatal life experience significantly reduced content of…

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DHA in Pregnancy Not Linked to Atopic Diseases in High-Risk Children at Age 3

There are many plausible reasons to think that increased consumption of long-chain omega-3 PUFAs (n-3 LC-PUFAs) during pregnancy or infancy may reduce the development of atopic allergic diseases, such as eczema, wheeze and rhinitis. These allergies in infants and children are characterized by the increased production of immunoglobulin E (IgE), a class of antibody capable of triggering strong inflammatory responses. Several randomized trials have reported reduced severity of atopic conditions in infants whose mothers consumed fish oil or fish during pregnancy, although results have been inconsistent. Increased consumption of n-3…

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Higher n-6:n-3 PUFA Intakes in Pregnancy Linked to Poorer Neurodevelopment Scores in Non-Breastfed Children

The importance of long-chain PUFAs (LC-PUFAs) in fetal and infant development derives from the involvement of these fatty acids in brain structure and function and cell signaling in the brain, retina and neural cells. During development, the fetus depends on the maternal supply of these fatty acids for brain, eye and neural cell growth, which in turn depends on the mother’s diet for adequate supplies. Inadequate LC-PUFA intakes during pregnancy results in reduced levels of DHA in the infant’s brain, which have been associated with impaired cognitive and behavioral performance….

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DHA Reduced in Plasma, Placenta and Cord of Mothers with Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is one of the most common complications of pregnancy. The condition is a concern because it poses health risks to the mother and offspring and is increasing, thanks to the increase in overweight and obesity. GDM is associated with poorer perinatal outcomes, increased maternal risk of developing type 2 diabetes and greater risks of obesity and metabolic syndrome in the offspring. Estimates of the prevalence of GDM vary widely, in part because different criteria and measurements are used in different studies. For example, a U.S. study…

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