Food and Behaviour Research

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N-3 fatty acid supplementation during pregnancy in women with allergic disease: effects on blood pressure, and maternal and fetal lipids.

Barden A, Dunstan JA, Beilin LJ, Prescott SL, Mori TA.  (2006) Clin Sci (Lond). 2006 Jul 6; [Epub ahead of print]    

Web URL: View this abstract via Pubmed here


N-3 fatty acids derived from fish oil are reduce plasma triglycerides and increase HDL- cholesterol. However, the effect of n-3 fatty acid supplementation during pregnancy, a hyperlipidemic state, remains unknown.

We took the opportunity to study maternal lipid levels and blood pressure during and after pregnancy, and fetal lipid levels at birth, in a study that primarily aimed to examine the effect of fish oil supplementation during pregnancy on immune function in infants born to women with allergic disease.

Eighty three pregnant women who had allergic disease but were otherwise healthy completed the study. They were randomly allocated to fish oil or olive oil capsules taken as 4 g daily, from 20 weeks of pregnancy until delivery.

Compared with olive oil, fish oil supplementation did not alter triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL or HDL cholesterol during or after pregnancy. There was also no effect of fish oil on cord blood triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL or HDL cholesterol. Fish oil supplementation during pregnancy did not alter maternal blood pressure during or after pregnancy.

The effects of fish oil on lipids and blood pressure in non-pregnant individuals appear to be lost when it is administered during pregnancy.