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Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2009 Aug-Sep;81(2-3):179-86. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2009.06.005. Epub 2009 Jul 19.

Considerations regarding neuropsychiatric nutritional requirements for intakes of omega-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids.

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LMBB, National Institutes Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, NIH, 5625 Fishers Lane, Rm 3N-07, MSC 9410, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.



Adverse neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric outcomes have been established as signs of nutrient deficiencies and may be applicable to insufficient dietary intakes of omega-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids (n-3 HUFAs).


Consider if statistical definitions for Daily Reference Intakes can be applied to n-3 HUFAs intakes during pregnancy for maternal and neurodevelopmental deficiencies.


Data were prospectively collected from women during pregnancy and children up to age 8 years participating in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Statistical analyses took social and lifestyle factors into account.


During pregnancy, n-3 HUFA intakes from seafood that putatively meet statistical definitions of an estimated average requirement ranged from 0.05 to 0.06 en% (111-139 mg/d/2000 Cal) for suboptimal fine motor control at 42 m and 0.065-0.08 en% (114-181 mg/d/2000 Cal) for suboptimal verbal IQ at age 8 years and 0.18-0.22 en% (389-486 mg/d/2000 Cal) for maternal depression at 32 weeks. Intakes of n-3 ranging from 0.2 to 0.41 en% (445-917 mg/d/2000 Cal) prevented both increased risk of maternal depression and adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes for children among 97.5% of the population. No upper limit for safety was found.


During pregnancy, a n-3 HUFA intake of 0.40 en% (900 mg/d/2000 Cal) from seafood is likely to meet the nutritional requirements for 97.5% of the mothers and children of this population. These considerations do not constitute DRI's for docosahexaenoic acid and n-3 HUFAs, but may contribute to their formulation.

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