Correlation between intake of fish or supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids and early pregnancy plasma concentrations
Journal article, 2022

Long-chain polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids are considered important for fetal development, but previous studies suggest suboptimal intake in part of pregnant women in Iceland. The study aim was to evaluate intake of food and supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids, among pregnant women in Iceland and correlations to fatty acid composition in plasma. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Subjects were 853 pregnant women attending their 11-14 weeks ultrasound appointment. Information on intake of food and supplements containing long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)) as well as background was obtained by a questionnaire. Blood samples were collected for analysis of plasma fatty acids. Correlation was evaluated using the Spearman correlation. RESULTS: Median intake of lean fish was 1.3 times per week, while fatty fish was consumed once monthly. About 50% of the women took omega-3 containing supplements daily. Higher intake of both fish and omega-3 containing supplements was reflected in higher omega-3 plasma levels (r=0.37 p<0.001). A positive correlation was seen between intake of cod liver oil/capsules (r=0.23, p=0.001), omega-3 oil/capsules (r=0.20, p=0.001) and plasma concentration of omega-3. However, no correlation was seen between intake of a maternal multivitamin containing omega-3 and corresponding plasma concentration (r=0.03, p=0.98). CONCLUSION: Intake of food and supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids was reflected in plasma concentration, except for an Icelandic maternal multivitamin. One third of the women followed the recommendation of eating fish at least twice weekly. About 50% had a daily intake of supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids.





fatty acids


Ellen Alma Tryggvadottir

Landspitali University Hospital

Thorhallur Ingi Halldorsson

Landspitali University Hospital

Bryndis Eva Birgisdottir

Landspitali University Hospital

Laufey Hrolfsdottir

Landspitali University Hospital

Rikard Landberg

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Food and Nutrition Science

Ingibjorg Th Hreidarsdottir

Landspitali University Hospital

Hildur Hardardottir

University of Iceland

Ingibjorg Gunnarsdottir

Landspitali University Hospital


0023-7213 (ISSN) 1670-4959 (eISSN)

Vol. 108 5 238-243

Subject Categories

Food Science

Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine

Nutrition and Dietetics

Areas of Advance

Life Science Engineering (2010-2018)





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