Document Detail

Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid requirements during pregnancy and lactation.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  10617987     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Much interest has been expressed about the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) requirements of both preterm and term infants, whereas relatively little attention has been given to the LCPUFA needs of mothers, who may provide the primary source of LCPUFAs for their fetuses and breast-fed infants. Although maternal requirements for LCPUFAs are difficult to estimate because of large body stores and the capacity to synthesize LCPUFAs from precursors, biochemical and clinical intervention studies have provided some clues. From a biochemical viewpoint, there appears to be no detectable reduction in plasma n-3 LCPUFA concentrations during pregnancy, whereas there is a clear decline during the early postpartum period. The postpartum decrease in maternal plasma docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) concentration is not instantaneous, may be long-term, is independent of lactation, and is reversible with dietary DHA supplementation (200-400 mg/d). From a functional standpoint, the results of randomized clinical studies suggest that n-3 LCPUFA supplementation during pregnancy does not affect the incidences of pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia without edema. However, n-3 LCPUFA supplementation may cause modest increases in the duration of gestation, birth weight, or both. To date, there is little evidence of harm as a result of n-3 LCPUFA supplementation during either pregnancy or lactation. However, researchers need to further elucidate any potential benefits of supplementation for mothers and infants. Careful attention should be paid to study design, measurement of appropriate health outcomes, and defining minimum and maximum plasma n-3 LCPUFA concentrations that are optimal for both mothers and infants.
M Makrides; R A Gibson
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The American journal of clinical nutrition     Volume:  71     ISSN:  0002-9165     ISO Abbreviation:  Am. J. Clin. Nutr.     Publication Date:  2000 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2000-02-04     Completed Date:  2000-02-04     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0376027     Medline TA:  Am J Clin Nutr     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  307S-11S     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Adelaide, Women's and Children's Hospital, 72 King William Road, North Adelaide, SA 5006, Australia.
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MeSH Terms
Breast Feeding
Docosahexaenoic Acids / blood,  metabolism
Eicosapentaenoic Acid / blood,  metabolism
Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / physiology*
Lactation / physiology*
Nutritional Requirements
Postpartum Period
Pregnancy / physiology*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Fatty Acids, Unsaturated; 1553-41-9/Eicosapentaenoic Acid; 25167-62-8/Docosahexaenoic Acids

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