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Lancet. 1986 Aug 16;2(8503):367-9.

Intake of marine fat, rich in (n-3)-polyunsaturated fatty acids, may increase birthweight by prolonging gestation.


Birthweights in the Faroe Islands are among the highest in the world. Compared with Denmark, the average birthweight of liveborn singleton infants of primiparous mothers is 194 g higher, and a substantial part of this difference seems to be attributable to longer gestation. Prostaglandins play an important part in the timing of parturition in human beings. Dietary (n-3)-polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in high amounts influence endogenous prostaglandin metabolism. Owing to the large consumption of marine fat, the average intake of (n-3)-PUFA in the Faroes by far exceeds that in Denmark. The hypothesis proposed is that dietary (n-3)-PUFA in high amounts prolong gestation in human beings by interfering with uterine production of prostaglandins, possibly by inhibiting the production of dienoic prostaglandins, primarily PGF2 alpha and PGE2, which are mediators of uterine contractions and cervical ripening.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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