Burkett said women should eat fish during pregnancy and the concerns about harmful levels of mercury in fish can be gotten around by eating fish with little mercury. "You can't replace fish by using these supplements," he said.
A representative of the health supplements industry took issue with the findings, however.
"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," Duffy MacKay, vice president of scientific & regulatory affairs at the Council for Responsible Nutrition, said in a news release.
"DHA status needs to be adequate throughout pregnancy for women and their infants to receive the many established benefits," he said, adding that "we [also] 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."
For more information on eating fish during pregnancy, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
SOURCES: Maria Makrides, Ph.D., Women's and Children's Health Research Institute, Adelaide, Australia; Emily Oken, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Gene Burkett, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; Oct. 19, 2010, news release, Council for Responsible Nutrition, Washington
All rights reserved