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DHA and EPA Reduce Preeclampsia Risk by 46% in Pregnancy

Omega-3s and preeclampsia
Study Title: "Omega-3 fatty acids in maternal erythrocytes and risk of preeclampsia."
Number of Participants: 62 Pregnant Women
Length of Study: N/A
Type of Study: Cross-sectional Case-control Study
Publication: Epidemiology
Study Result: "A 15% increase in the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids was associated with a 46% reduction in risk of preeclampsia."

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy disease characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, most frequently the liver and kidneys.  Fish oil, rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, is known to reduce fasting and postprandial triglycerides and to decrease platelet and leukocyte reactivity; it may also decrease blood pressure. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids may beneficially influence blood vessel wall characteristics and blood flow.

In this cross-sectional case-control study, the relationship between maternal dietary intake of marine omega-3 fatty acids and the risk of preeclampsia was investigated. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in red blood cells were obtained from 22 preeclamptic women and 40 normal women; we measured polyunsaturated fatty acids as the percentage of total fatty acids from gas chromatography. We employed logistic regression procedures to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). After adjusting for confounders, women with the lowest levels of omega-3 fatty acids were 7.6 times more likely to have had their pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia as compared with those women with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids. A 15% increase in the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids was associated with a 46% reduction in risk of preeclampsia. Low red blood cell levels of omega-3 fatty acids and high levels of some omega-6 fatty acids, particularly arachidonic acid, appear to be associated with an increased risk of preeclampsia.

PreeclampsiaPrenatal & Pregnancy
DHAOmega-3s
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