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Br J Nutr. 2016 Dec;116(12):2082-2090. doi: 10.1017/S0007114516004293. Epub 2017 Jan 9.

Maternal fish oil supplementation during lactation is associated with reduced height at 13 years of age and higher blood pressure in boys only.

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1Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports,University of Copenhagen,1958 C Frederiksberg,Denmark.
3SSI,2300 S Copenhagen,Denmark.
4Department of Kinesiology,University of Waterloo,Waterloo,ON,Canada, N2L 3G1.


Dietary long-chain n-3 PUFA (n-3 LCPUFA) in infancy may have long-term effects on lifestyle disease risk. The present follow-up study investigated whether maternal fish oil (FO) supplementation during lactation affected growth and blood pressure in adolescents and whether the effects differed between boys and girls. Mother-infant pairs (n 103) completed a randomised controlled trial with FO (1·5 g/d n-3 LCPUFA) or olive oil (OO) supplements during the first 4 months of lactation; forty-seven mother-infant pairs with high fish intake were followed-up for 4 months as the reference group. We also followed-up 100 children with assessment of growth, blood pressure, diet by FFQ and physical activity by 7-d accelerometry at 13·5 (sd 0·4) years of age. Dried whole-blood fatty acid composition was analysed in a subgroup (n 49). At 13 years of age, whole-blood n-3 LCPUFA, diet, physical activity and body composition did not differ between the three groups. The children from the FO group were 3·4 (95 % CI 0·2, 6·6) cm shorter (P=0·035) than those from the OO group, and tended to have less advanced puberty (P=0·068), which explained the difference in height. There was a sex-specific effect on diastolic blood pressure (P sex×group=0·020), which was driven by a 3·9 (95 % CI 0·2, 7·5) mmHg higher diastolic blood pressure in the FO compared with the OO group among boys only (P=0·041). Our results indicate that early n-3 LCPUFA intake may reduce height in early adolescence due to a delay in pubertal maturation and increase blood pressure specifically in boys, thereby tending to counteract existing sex differences.


n-3 Long-chain PUFA; n-3 LCPUFA long-chain n-3 PUFA; DBP diastolic blood pressure; FO fish oil; MAP mean arterial blood pressure; OO olive oil; Growth; Health; Programming; Puberty

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