Fish oil during pregnancy does not control excessive weight gain in infants

   Jan 5, 12:53 pm

Washington, Jan 5 (ANI): Taking Omega 3 fatty acids during pregnancy does not prevent expansive adipose tissue development and growth of fat mass in offspring as believed, a new study has revealed.

Previously, researchers assumed that consumption of "bad" fats during pregnancy contribute to excessive infant adipose tissue growth and that "good" Omega 3 fatty acids prevent expansive adipose tissue development.

But, the intervention study run by the Technische Universitat Munchen (TUM) has found no evidence to support this "perinatal programming" theory.

Professor Hauner, Head of the Else Kroner-Fresenius Centre for Nutritional Medicine at TUM and his colleagues, explored how the composition of fatty acids in the mother's diet during pregnancy and lactation affected the offspring in their INFAT study.

The research focused in particular on the ratio between Omega 6 fatty acids - present in meats, cold cuts and sausages - and Omega 3 fatty acids - concentrated in oily saltwater fish in particular.

The team hypothesized that decreasing this ratio in the mother's diet was a promising way of preventing infant obesity. Cell culture and mouse studies had shown that arachidonic acid - an Omega 6 fatty acid - resulted in increased adipogenesis and growth of fat mass in offspring.

Experiments with Omega 3 fatty acids, however, revealed a curbing effect on adipose tissue growth among mice offspring.

The results of the INFAT study challenge the validity of this "lean" perinatal programming theory.

Hauner and his researchers closely observed and monitored 208 expectant mothers from the start of their pregnancies. One group increased its intake of Omega 3 fatty acids by taking fish oil capsules and reducing meat-based meals during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

The control group maintained its usual diet and refrained from taking fish oil capsules.

In both groups, skinfold thickness (SFT) measurements were used to estimate infant adipose tissue growth at regular intervals up until the age of 12 months.

For the first time in infants of this age, ultrasound was also used to measure the fat layer at defined sites over the abdomen.

The results show no difference in infant adipose tissue growth between the two groups. This study thus refutes the perinatal programming theory.

The INFAT study thus revealed no evidence to support the effectiveness of fish oil capsules during pregnancy as a way to control excessive weight gain in infants. (ANI)

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