Low levels of omega-3 could be risk factor for preterm birth


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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Low plasma concentration of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid could be a strong risk factor for subsequent early preterm birth, suggests a new study published in EBioMedicine.

For the study, researchers examined data from the Danish National Birth Cohort and identified 376 early preterm cases (Plasma eicosapentaenoic acid plus docosahexaenoic acid (EPA+DHA% of total fatty acids), were measured twice in pregnancy. 

Women who were in the lowest quintile of EPA+DHA serum levels, with EPA+DHA levels of 1.6 per cent or less of total plasma fatty acids, had 10 times higher risk of early preterm birth when compared with women in the three highest quintiles, whose EPA+DHA levels were 1.8 per cent or higher. Women in the second lowest quintile had 2.86 times increased risk compared with women in the three highest quintiles.

"It will be important to replicate these findings in other populations, but the results of this study certainly suggest that assessment of plasma EPA+DHA status in women has the potential to be used in the future to help predict women's risk," said co-author Jeremy Furtado, senior research scientist at Harvard Chan School in the United States.