lower consumption of Omega 3 during pregnancy and higher risk of depression

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Pregnancy is a time when nutrition matters more than ever, in order to provide adequate nourishment for both mum and the developing baby.

There have been many studies in the past that have highlighted the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids for everything from heart disease to depression. One such study from Bristol University in the UK has noted just how important it is to get enough Omega 3 fatty acids during pregnancy.

Dr Jean Golding from the University of Bristol, along with her colleagues, found an association between lower consumption of Omega 3 fatty acids and a higher risk of depression. It is already known that depression during pregnancy can be harmful for both mum and baby.

The researchers in the Bristol study analysed data on nearly 10,000 women who completed a questionnaire at 32 weeks of pregnancy, where they were asked about their moods and the amount of seafood they ate.

The data was collected during the early part of the 1990’s when most people got their Omega 3 intake purely from fresh fish.

The researchers compared the women who ate at least 3 servings of fish a week with those who ate no fish at all and the results showed that those who didn’t eat any seafood were 50 percent more likely to report symptoms of depression and low moods than those whose intake of seafood was higher, and that was after taking any other factors that could have influenced the results into account.

The researchers also noted that in countries where a lot of fish was consumed, there wasn’t the same problem with depression as in other countries where fish wasn’t a regular part of the diet.

This news isn’t new as many studies have highlighted how Omega 3 fatty acids found in oily fish can help prevent mental health problems like depression and anxiety. However, today, women who are pregnant or who are intending to get pregnant in the near future are advised to limit their consumption of fatty fish due to the potentially high levels of mercury that can be found in fresh fish, which can be harmful to the unborn child.

The researchers said it is possible “that limiting intake in accordance with this advice could increase the risk of maternal depressive symptoms during pregnancy” reported Reuters.

Fish oil does of course provide Omega 3 fatty acids and you can buy fish oil that has had the toxins removed so this would be one solution. However, pregnant women who want to take fish oil should speak to their doctor in order to rule out any contraindications.

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  1. Tony Chilcott
    Posted January 16, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I would like to use this article in our Newsletter that is sent to about 300 members. I am the editor of the NL and we work for the registered charity Depression – UK. Can I do so, please?
    I get links connecting me to all your articles and would like to use more of your pieces. Could I also do so freely, please?
    Many thanks in anticipation,

  2. admin
    Posted January 16, 2011 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Hi Tony

    Please feel free to use what you like , a mention of where of the article came from would be nice,

    Thanks Karl

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