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Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2011 Aug;85(2):83-8. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2011.04.027. Epub 2011 May 23.

The effect of maternal omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 LCPUFA) supplementation during pregnancy and/or lactation on body fat mass in the offspring: a systematic review of animal studies.

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FOODplus Research Centre, School of Agriculture Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia.


Dietary n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFA) reduce adipogenesis and lipogenesis in adult rodents, but it is not clear whether an increased n-3 LCPUFA supply during the perinatal period influences body fat mass in the offspring. This systematic review aimed to evaluate the existing evidence from animal studies, which have addressed this question. Medline was searched for relevant articles. Studies were included if they involved maternal n-3 PUFA or LCPUFA supplementation and measured fat mass in the offspring. The design and quality of each study was assessed. Only four animal studies met our inclusion criteria. Three studies reported a lower fat mass in offspring of n-3 LCPUFA supplemented dams, however only one of these studies confined the intervention to the perinatal period. The dose of n-3 PUFA, the nature of the control treatment, the approaches used and outcomes assessed differed between studies. This review highlights the paucity of robust animal data as to the effect of increased n-3 LCPUFA exposure during the perinatal period alone, on body fat mass in the offspring and calls for further studies.

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