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Lipids. 2003 Apr;38(4):407-14.

High-DHA eggs: feasibility as a means to enhance circulating DHA in mother and infant.

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Medical Research Council, Tygerberg, South Africa.


Dietary DHA enhances infant attention and visual development. Because the DHA content of red blood cells and plasma lipids varies approximately threefold in pregnancy, maternal DHA status may influence subsequent infant function. It would be feasible to study the effects of higher maternal DHA intake on infant development if dietary intake of DHA could be increased by a reliable means. This study was designed to determine whether women provided with one dozen high-DHA hen eggs (135 mg DHA/egg) would consume the eggs and have higher blood DHA levels than women consuming ordinary eggs (18 mg DHA/egg). The study was a randomized, double-masked comparison of the effect of eggs with different concentrations of DHA on intake and blood lipid DHA content of women and their infants. A third nonrandomized group ate few eggs. In this study, DHA intake reported from eggs was eightfold higher in the high-DHA egg group compared to the ordinary egg group. Including all groups, DHA intake ranged from 0 to 284 mg/d. In this intake range, maternal blood lipid DHA content at enrollment best predicted DHA content at delivery, accounting for 36.5 and 51.7% of the variance in ordinary and high-DHA egg intake groups, respectively. The high-DHA vs. ordinary egg groups had similar maternal and cord blood lipid DHA, but there was a positive relationship between maternal plasma phospholipid DHA and daily DHA intake from eggs controlled for study duration (r = 0.278, P = 0.048). DHA intake and birth weight were also correlated (r = 0.299, P = 0.041). High-DHA eggs were well accepted and increased DHA intake. Other benefits of DHA intake during pregnancy were also suggested.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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