According to researcher Deanna Gibson, an associate professor of biology in the Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science, UBC Okanagan, taking fish oil supplements while nursing may not be beneficial and may even negatively impact babies’ immunity. A study published in the ISME Journal is the first to investigate the impacts of fish oil supplementation on the composition of breast milk and infant gut bacteria.
Researchers demonstrated that supplementation corresponded with an increase in breast milk fats but a decrease in the immune-protective components of the milk, and observed a change in infant gut microbiology—away from the bacteria normally present.
For the study, senior author Gibson and the research team evaluated 91 women and their babies; half took daily doses of fish oil while the other half did not supplement. Breast milk samples, infant stools, and immune function markers were compared between the two groups.
Women who took supplements had a higher ratio of omega-3 fatty acids but lower protective molecules, such as antibodies, in their breast milk. The supplemented infants had a lower diversity of bacteria in their stools, considered a negative. Researchers warn that this is a change that could result in infection risk for the infant. With these findings in mind, Gibson cautions that the practice of prenatal fish oil supplementation may induce long-term dysfunctional gut immunity. Further large-scale studies will clarify whether early fish oil exposures alter infectious disease susceptibility, including persistent asymptomatic chronic infections.
For more information about this study, visit https://rdcu.be/b37ri.
Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee
of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally
accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
About the ICMJE and citation styles
The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.
An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.
BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:
- Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
- There is no period after the journal name.
- Page numbers are not abbreviated.
For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org