Maternal Supplementation with DHA Omega-3 Fatty Acid in Pregnancy and Infant Visual Acuity

Presenter: Prof. Sheila Innis

Institution: Child and Family Research Institute, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Professor Sheila Innis reported results from her clinical trial at the Congress for the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) being held in Cairns Australia. In this double-blind randomized study, 100 pregnant women received a daily placebo (control) or 400 mg supplemental DHA Omega-3 fatty acid for 16 to 36 weeks of pregnancy. Blood measurements and subsequent breast milk levels of DHA were analyzed in conjunction with visual acuity assessments in their babies.

The women receiving DHA supplementation showed much higher levels of measured DHA in their blood samples and in their breast milk fat at 30 days post-partum (0.33% of fat as compared to only 0.19% in controls).

Visual acuity in infants as measured at 2 months of age was positively associated with maternal DHA status at 36 weeks of pregnancy. Further, the infants from mothers with lower intakes of DHA (approx. 80 mg or less per day) during pregnancy, common on usual westernized diets, exhibited a significantly greater risk of having a lesser visual acuity.

When interviewed by immediately following her lecture on site in Cairns, Prof. Innis gave the following quote: "However, it is clear that because providing additional DHA can have positive effects, at least on early measure of infant development, many women are at risk of inadequate intake."

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.