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Time for an oil check: the role of essential omega-3 fatty acids in maternal and pediatric health

Abstract

Deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids (ω3FAs) is an often unrecognized determinant of clinical disease; the adequate availability of these essential nutrients may prevent affliction or facilitate health restoration in some pregnant women and developing offspring. The human organism requires specific nutrients in order to carry out the molecular processes within cells and tissues and it is well established that ω3FAs are essential lipids necessary for various physiological functions. Accordingly, to achieve optimal health for patients, care givers should be familiar with clinical aspects of nutritional science, including the assessment of nutritional status and judicious use of nutrient supplementation. In view of the mounting evidence implicating ω3FA deficiency as a determinant of various maternal and pediatric afflictions, physicians should consider recommending purified fish oil supplementation during pregnancy and lactation. Furthermore, ω3FA supplementation may be indicated in selected pediatric situations to promote optimal health among children.

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Genuis, S., Schwalfenberg, G. Time for an oil check: the role of essential omega-3 fatty acids in maternal and pediatric health. J Perinatol 26, 359–365 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.jp.7211519

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Keywords

  • nutrition
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • prenatal care
  • preventive medicine
  • public health

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