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Free Radic Res. 2006 Apr;40(4):379-84.

Effect of docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid supplementation on oxidative stress levels during pregnancy.

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Department of Pediatrics, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an indispensable component of cell membranes with high requirements during pregnancy. DHA supplementation is thought to enhance oxidative stress because of increased likelihood of lipid peroxidation. We estimated the oxidative stress levels in two groups of pregnant women who received daily supply of required vitamins with (n = 23) or without (n = 23) 500 mg of DHA and 150 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) from 20 weeks of gestation to the time of delivery. Urinary excretions of 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), a marker of oxidative DNA damage and of malondialdehyde (MDA), a marker of lipid peroxidation, were measured at 20, 30 weeks and at the time of delivery. Urinary MDA excretion remained unchanged throughout the study period in both groups. Urinary 8-OHdG excretion at delivery was significantly higher than at 20 and 30 weeks (p < 0.05), but there were no group differences at the three time points. There were no differences between the two groups in plasma a-tocopherol levels. We conclude that under the conditions studied, a daily supplementation of 500 mg DHA and 150 mg EPA with vitamins to pregnant women did not enhance lipid peroxidation or oxidative DNA damage.

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