WASHINGTON, D.C., October 19, 2010In response to a study regarding fish oil use during pregnancy published in the October 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement industry, reminds pregnant and lactating women of the undisputed importance of consuming the recommended amounts of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) throughout pregnancy. This can be done by eating two servings of fatty fish, such as sardines or anchovies, per week, or taking fish oil supplements (containing 200-300 mg/DHA, according to the Institute of Medicine) daily. While the benefits of DHA for a healthy pregnancy are well-established, more research is necessary to determine the effect of DHA on incidence of post-partum depression or neurocognitive development of infants.
"A large body of scientific evidence has established a strong relationship between the DHA status of mothers and infants and a variety of important pregnancy-related outcomes, including infant development," said Duffy MacKay, N.D., vice president, scientific & regulatory affairs, CRN. "Unfortunately in this trial, we have no idea of the DHA status of the mothers at the beginning of pregnancy or when they were evaluated for depression. Further we have no idea of the DHA status of the infants at 18 months when they were evaluated for neurocognitive outcomes. Without measurements of DHA status, it is difficult to draw conclusions from the study and certainly should not provide definitive advice to consumers."
There are many established variables that would impact individual DHA status for the mothers and children of both the supplemented and control group in this study, including differences in the ability to synthesize DHA from other fatty acids, the rate of maternal to fetal transfer of DHA, the status of other nutrients required to synthesize DHA, as well as other dietary sources of DHA not con
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Council for Responsible Nutrition