Maternal fish oil supplementation in lactation: effect on developmental outcome in breast-fed infants

Lotte Lauritzen, Marianne H. Jørgensen, Sjúrdur F. Olsen, Ellen Marie Straarup, Kim Fleischer Michaelsen

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116 Citations (Scopus)


Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) accumulates in the brain during the 1st and 2nd years of life. The objective of this study was to see if an increased content of DHA in breast-milk via maternal fish oil (FO)-supplementation affects mental development in term infants. one hundred twenty-two Danish mothers with a habitual fish intake below the population median were randomized to 4.5 g·d-1 of FO or olive oil (OO) for the first four months of lactation. Fifty-three mothers with habitual fish intake in the highest quartile were included as reference group. The effect of the resulting increase in infant DHA-intake and RBC-DHA level was assessed on problem solving ability at nine months and language at one and two years of age. Infants in the three groups performed equally well on the problem test and no association was observed between problem solving and erythrocyte-DHA at four months. Passive vocabulary at one year was lower in the children of the FO- compared with the OO-group (P < 0.05), but no differences were found at two years of age. Word comprehension at one year was inversely associated with erythrocyte-DHA at four months. The trial indicate a small effect of DHA levels in breast-milk on early language development of breast-fed infants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-547
Number of pages13
JournalReproduction Nutrition Development
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • breast milk
  • infant development
  • long-chain n-3 fatty acids
  • optimal dietary intake


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