Researchers and doctors have been looking into the possible protective nature of DHA and other omega 3 fatty acids when taken late in pregnancy. There have, to date, been no studies focusing solely on the long-term effects of DHA, in particular. Recently, a study was completed by researchers out of Adelaide University in Australia. According to the study, there are NO long-term protective qualities to DHA – specially, taking DHA in the latter months of pregnancy does not decrease the risk of preeclampsia or gestational diabetes, two of the more dangerous pregnancy complications.
Fish oil is known to have a positive impact on fetal brain and visual development. As more and more studies publish, pregnant women have a long list of reasons to supplement with DHA during pregnancy, even if that means skipping the fish to reduce mercury exposure and taking a DHA supplement. But, that list does not include protection from pregnancy-related complications. Data was pulled from the DOMInO (DHA to Optimize Mother Infant Outcome) Trial.
More than 2,000 women were included in the DOMInO Trial. During the trial, women were no more than 21 weeks pregnant when they started the taking 800 mg of DHA supplement. Half the study participants were given a placebo. The supplements were taken for the duration of pregnancy.
The results of the study were a bit confusing. Cases of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes were higher in the DHA group compared to the placebo group – by about 3-percent. In addition, there were more perinatal deaths and neonatal convulsions in the DHA group. Researchers claimed further research would be needed to determine if DHA protected against these conditions, but the study results show increased danger not protection.
Currently the recommendation for DHA supplement is to take 200 mg per day, though studies have tested more than 2,000 mg per day. This is the first study we have come in contact with that shows any negative impact of taking DHA.
Source: Shao J Zhou, Lisa Yelland, Andy J McPhee, Julie Quinlivan, Robert A Gibson, Maria Makrides. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. June 2012.