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Prenatal Omega-3 Supplementation Linked to Lower Risk of Anemia in Newborns

Anemia occurs when red blood cells are broken down too rapidly, a person loses too much blood, or their bone marrow isn’t producing enough red blood cells. It can be especially dangerous in babies. A recent study suggests that taking omega-3 supplements while pregnant may lower the risk of anemia in newborns.

Participants in the study included 100 healthy pregnant mothers. The participants were assigned to drink two doses of 200 ml of a control dairy drink or two doses of 200 ml of a fish oil-enriched dairy drink daily. Consumption begab at the 28th week of gestation and continued until delivery. The fish oil was from tuna and contained the omega-3 fatty acid DHA.

The researchers assessed the dietary intake of the mothers via a 110-item food frequency questionnaire and a 72-hour diet record. The researchers used the information gathered from those two sources to create a recommended diet for each woman.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the omega-3 supplementation was associated with increased iron homeostasis in the part of the uterus that establishes nutrient circulation between the embryo and the mother. This means the fetuses were getting more iron, which decreases their risk of developing anemia when they’re born.

Researchers from the University of Granada and King’s College London conducted the study. It was published in the December 2015 issue of the Journal of Functional Foods.

Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including better moods, improved joint mobility, helping with age related macular degeneration, and aiding your immune system.

Because omega-3 fatty-acids are not found naturally in the human body, it is especially important to make sure that they are a part of your daily diet. Oily, dark fish such as tuna and salmon are high in omega-3s. For vegans like the ones in this study or for folks who just don’t like fish, consider taking a daily high quality non-fish supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.

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