Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in mothers and term babies

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Abstract

Aim

To establish the levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA) in both plasma and erythrocytes of maternal and cord blood as well as in breast milk of mothers delivering babies at term.

Methods

A total of 148 mothers delivering babies at term were recruited from Bharati Medical Hospital, Pune, India.

Results

Levels of DHA and AA in both plasma and erythrocyte were higher in cord blood compared to levels in maternal blood (P < 0.001). Maternal plasma and erythrocyte DHA levels had a positive association with the respective levels in cord blood (P < 0.001). However, such an association was not seen for AA levels. Maternal plasma omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids were positively associated with the respective milk fatty acids (P < 0.01).

Conclusions

Our results indicate that milk long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) status reflects the concentrations of maternal LCPUFA in women delivering babies at term. Improving the maternal LCPUFA status throughout pregnancy and lactation may improve the milk LCPUFA status and ultimately benefit the infant.

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