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Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2012 Jan-Feb;86(1-2):61-70. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2011.10.004. Epub 2011 Oct 21.

Maternal supplementation with dietary arachidonic and docosahexaenoic acids during lactation elevates bone mass in weanling rat and guinea pig offspring even if born small sized.

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  • 1Department of Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.


Whether post-natal long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) elevates bone mineral content (BMC) of small and normal neonates was studied using pregnant rats and guinea pigs fed a control (C) diet or low protein (LP) diet to induce small neonates followed by C or LCPUFA diets during lactation. Measurements (days 3 and 21 post-partum) included BMC and density (BMD) plus bone metabolism. In rats LP reduced birth weight but at day 21 elevated weight and whole body BMC; LCPUFA enhanced spine BMC, tibia BMC and BMD and whole body BMD. In guinea pig pups, at days 3 and 21, LP reduced weight, whole body and regional BMC and BMD whereas LCPUFA reduced day 3 osteocalcin and elevated day 21 spine BMD. LCPUFA minimized loss of whole body BMC in dams and elevated osteocalcin in sows. LCPUFA during lactation enhances bone in normal and small neonates without compromising maternal bone.

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