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The Effect of n-3 Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Intake Report

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Updated: Apr 11th, 2022

Affect of intake of n-3 fatty acids during pregnancy on the adipose tissue growth for infants and young children later in life

Dietary intake of fatty acids during pregnancy plays an important role in determining the growth of adipose tissue among infants and children. Specifically, the decreased intake of n-3 fatty acids has been associated with increased growth of adipose tissue, which causes overweight and obesity. The proportion of n-3 fatty acids relative to n-6 fatty acids in the diet has been decreasing in Western countries, while the prevalence rates of childhood overweight and obesity have been increasing over a similar period, as the epidemiological data indicate. The epidemiological data corroborate the association between dietary intake of fatty acids and the growth of adipose tissue among infants and children. In vitro and in vivo studies have shown that n-6 fatty acids have adipogenic effects because they inhibit proliferation of cells and promote their differentiation into adipocytes, whereas n-3 fatty acids have an antiadopgenic effect since they inhibit the growth of adipocytes and act on them.. Therefore, n-3 fatty acids in the maternal diet during pregnancy associated with the reduced growth of adipose tissue among infants and children.

The antiadipogenic effect of n-3 fatty acids on infants and children has led to the alteration of the proportion of fatty acids in maternal diets. Although different studies have come up with conflicting effects of n-3 fatty acids, the methodology of these studies appear to confound the effects of n-3 fatty acids on the growth of adipose tissue among infants and children. According to a cohort study done on 1250 pregnant mothers and their children after birth, enhanced intake of fish and n-3 fatty acids related to decreased adipocyte growth during early childhood. These findings are based on the measurement of weight, height, body mass index, and skinfolds at scapular and tricipital regions of children at the age of 3 years. In this view, a considerable number of research studies show that the intake of n-3 fatty acids during pregnancy have the potential of decreasing the growth of adipose tissues in infants and children.

Does the intake of n-3 fatty acids during pregnancy reduce the incidence of obesity later in life?

There is an association between dietary intake of n-3 fatty acids during pregnancy and obesity among individuals in life. A cohort study among pregnant women gave important findings that dietary intake of n-3 fatty acids “during mid-pregnancy was associated with lower subscapular and triceps skinfold thickness, and with reduced odds of obesity at 3 years.” Specifically, the n-3 fatty acids used in the study, which reduced the predisposition to obesity, were eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). There is an inverse relationship between the risk of obesity and the concentrations of EPA and DHA in plasma obtained from umbilical cord,1 a study done on 302 children revealed. Therefore, the inverse association between n-3 fatty acids and the occurrence of obesity indicates that the dietary intake of n-fatty acids during pregnancy has the potential of preventing the occurrence of obesity among individuals.

Despite the fact that there is no conclusive evidence to assert the cause-and-effect relationship between dietary intake of n-3 fatty acids and the occurrence of obesity, compelling findings exist. A randomized control study of 144 pregnant women indicated that infants at 21 months whose mothers took DHA in their diets had lower weights and body mass index than children in the control group. The study proved that n-3 fatty acids associate with the occurrence of obesity during early childhood. A cohort study of 1250 pregnant women also gave compelling evidence when it showed that the intake of fish and n-3 fatty acids related to lower growth of adipocytes among infants and children up to the age of four years. Another study done on 302 children showed that “enhanced maternal-fetal n-3 fatty acids status is associated with lower risk of childhood obesity.”1 Hence, the intake of n-3 fatty acids during pregnancy reduces the incidence of obesity among individuals later in life.

References

Huaner H, Brunner S, Amann-Gassner U. The role of dietary fatty acids for early human adipose tissue growth. Am J Nutr. 2013;98(suppl):S549-S455.

Rodriguez G, Iglesia I, Bel-Serrat S, Moreno LA. Effect of n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids during the perinatal period on later body composition. Br J Nutr. 2012;107(suppl):S117-S128.

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IvyPanda. "The Effect of n-3 Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Intake." April 11, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-effect-of-n-3-long-chain-polyunsaturated-fatty-acids-intake/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "The Effect of n-3 Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Intake." April 11, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-effect-of-n-3-long-chain-polyunsaturated-fatty-acids-intake/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'The Effect of n-3 Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Intake'. 11 April.

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