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Maternal fish oil supplementation during lactation is associated with reduced height at 13 years of age and higher blood pressure in boys only

  • L. Lauritzen (a1), S. E. Eriksen (a1) (a2), M. F. Hjorth (a1), M. S. Nielsen (a1), S. F. Olsen (a3), K. D. Stark (a4), K. F. Michaelsen (a1) and C. T. Damsgaard (a1)...

Abstract

Dietary long-chain n-3 PUFA (n-3 LCPUFA) in infancy may have long-term effects on lifestyle disease risk. The present follow-up study investigated whether maternal fish oil (FO) supplementation during lactation affected growth and blood pressure in adolescents and whether the effects differed between boys and girls. Mother–infant pairs (n 103) completed a randomised controlled trial with FO (1·5 g/d n-3 LCPUFA) or olive oil (OO) supplements during the first 4 months of lactation; forty-seven mother–infant pairs with high fish intake were followed-up for 4 months as the reference group. We also followed-up 100 children with assessment of growth, blood pressure, diet by FFQ and physical activity by 7-d accelerometry at 13·5 (sd 0·4) years of age. Dried whole-blood fatty acid composition was analysed in a subgroup (n 49). At 13 years of age, whole-blood n-3 LCPUFA, diet, physical activity and body composition did not differ between the three groups. The children from the FO group were 3·4 (95 % CI 0·2, 6·6) cm shorter (P=0·035) than those from the OO group, and tended to have less advanced puberty (P=0·068), which explained the difference in height. There was a sex-specific effect on diastolic blood pressure (P sex×group=0·020), which was driven by a 3·9 (95 % CI 0·2, 7·5) mmHg higher diastolic blood pressure in the FO compared with the OO group among boys only (P=0·041). Our results indicate that early n-3 LCPUFA intake may reduce height in early adolescence due to a delay in pubertal maturation and increase blood pressure specifically in boys, thereby tending to counteract existing sex differences.

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Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: Associate Professor L. Lauritzen, fax +45 3533 2483, email ll@nexs.ku.dk

References

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