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Diabetes Care. 2019 Apr 9. pii: dc182591. doi: 10.2337/dc18-2591. [Epub ahead of print]

Efficacy of Fish Oil and/or Probiotic Intervention on the Incidence of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus in an At-Risk Group of Overweight and Obese Women: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Clinical Trial.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
Institute of Biomedicine, Integrative Physiology, and Pharmacology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.
Institute of Clinical Medicine, Biostatistics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland.
Department of Medicine, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland.



To assess whether the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) may be lowered and glucose metabolism improved by daily administration of fish oil and/or probiotic supplements in overweight and obese pregnant women.


We randomized in a double-blind manner 439 women (mean 13.9 ± 2.1 gestational weeks [gw]) into four intervention groups: fish oil + placebo, probiotics + placebo, fish oil + probiotics, and placebo + placebo. Fish oil (1.9 g docosahexaenoic acid and 0.22 g eicosapentaenoic acid) and probiotic supplements (Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis 420, 1010 colony-forming units each) were provided for daily consumption from randomization beyond delivery. Primary outcomes were the incidence of GDM diagnosed with oral glucose tolerance test targeted at 24-28 gw and the change in fasting glucose between randomization and late pregnancy (mean 35.2 ± 0.9 gw). Insulin concentration, insulin resistance HOMA2-IR index, and pregnancy outcomes were determined, as were adverse effects related to the intervention. Analyses were by intent to treat.


No differences were found among the intervention groups in the maternal and neonatal pregnancy outcomes or side effects related to the intervention (P > 0.05). The proportion of women with GDM (94 of 377; fish oil + placebo, 23 of 96, 24.0%; probiotics + placebo, 25 of 99, 25.3%; fish oil + probiotics, 26 of 91, 28.6%; and placebo + placebo, 20 of 91, 22.0%) or the change in glucose, insulin, or HOMA2-IR (n = 364) did not differ among the intervention groups (P > 0.11 for all comparisons).


An intervention with fish oil and/or probiotics during pregnancy seemed to be both safe and well tolerated but conferred no benefits in lowering the risk of GDM or improving glucose metabolism in overweight and obese women.


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