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Studies

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Allergies and Asthma

  • Fish oil intake compared with olive oil intake in late pregnancy and asthma in the offspring: 16 y of registry-based follow-up from a randomized controlled trial.
    • Author: S. Olsen, et al.
    • Journal: Epidemiology, 2013
    • Summary: Researchers assigned 533 women with normal pregnancies to receive either fish oil capsules, olive oil capsules, or no capsules beginning at week 30 of pregnancy. Women were asked to take the capsules until delivery; the children delivered from these pregnancies were followed related to any diagnosis of asthma. In the 16 years that the children were followed, 19 children from the fish oil and olive oil groups had received an asthma-related diagnosis; 10 had received the diagnosis of allergic asthma. The hazard rate of asthma was reduced by 63 percent; the hazard rate of allergic asthma was reduced by 87 percent in the fish oil group compared with the olive oil group.
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Baby Brain and Eye Development

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder Phenotypes and Prenatal Exposure to Methylmercury
    • Author: E. van Wijngaarden, et al.
    • Journal: Epidemiology, 2013
    • Summary: Researchers studied nearly 1800 mother/child pairs in the Republic of Seychelles, where people eat fish-rich diets and mercury levels are 10-20 higher than in the U.S. There was no association between exposure to mercury from eating a fish-rich diet during pregnancy and autism-like behaviors among 10-year-old children.
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  • Fish Consumption and Prenatal Methylmercury Exposure: Cognitive and Behavioral Outcomes in the Main Cohort at 17 Years from the Seychelles Child Development Study
    • Author: P. Davidson, et al.
    • Journal: NeuroToxicology, 2011
    • Summary: The people of the Seychelles Islands eat fish daily and their mercury levels are among the highest in the world, over ten times that of samples in the United States. Researchers' studied the children in this population through age 17 years and found no consistent pattern of harm from prenatal mercury exposure. There is actually evidence of improved performance as prenatal mercury exposure increases because mercury is a marker for fish consumption, which contains nutrients with long-lasting brain benefits.
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  • Maternal Seafood Consumption in Pregnancy and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in Childhood (ALSPAC Study): an observational cohort study.
    • Author: J. Hibbeln, et al.
    • Journal: Lancet, 2007
    • Summary: The authors used the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) to evaluate what effect maternal consumption of seafood had on a child's development. The study found that the beneficial effects of seafood intake are recorded when mothers consume more than 340g of seafood per week.
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  • Nutrient and methylmercury exposure from consuming fish.
    • Author: G. Myers, et al.
    • Journal: Journal of Nutrition, 2007
    • Summary: The authors discuss the benefits of eating fish, review the current evidence for risk of exposure to methylmercury, and review the results of the Seychelles Child Development Study, which was a large prospective cohort study that followed children through 9 years of age to evaluate the nutritional benefits of fish consumption along with any possible adverse associations with prenatal mercury exposure. The study findings conclude that the benefits of eating fish outweigh any adverse effects from methylmercury.
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  • Maternal fish intake during pregnancy, blood mercury levels, and child cognition at age 3 years in a US cohort.
    • Author: E. Oken, et al.
    • Journal: American Journal of Epidemiology, 2008
    • Summary: This study evaluated 341 mother-child pairs over three years to determine the risk and benefit of prenatal fish consumption on infant cognitive development by looking at associations between fish intake during the maternal second trimester, mercury levels, and children's scores on two main tests of cognitive and visual ability. Researchers found that higher fish intake translated to better test performance, and higher mercury levels meant lower test scores. Fish consumption of less than two servings per week was not associated with a benefit.
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  • Association between prenatal exposure to methylmercury and visuospatial ability at 10.7 years in the Seychelles child development study.
    • Author: P. Davidson, et al.
    • Journal: Neurotoxicology, 2008
    • Summary: The Seychelles Child Development Study was designed to test the hypothesis that prenatal exposure to methyl mercury from maternal consumption of a diet high in fish is detrimental to child neurodevelopment. To date, no consistent pattern of adverse associations between prenatal exposure and children's development has appeared. In a comprehensive review of developmental studies involving methyl mercury, a panel of experts recommended a more consistent use of the same endpoints across studies to facilitate comparisons.
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  • Beneficial effects of a polyunsaturated fatty acid on infant development: evidence from the Inuit of arctic Quebec.
    • Author: J. Jacobson, et al.
    • Journal: The Journal of Pediatrics, 2008
    • Summary: This study evaluated over 100 Inuit infants and their mothers in Arctic Quebec to determine effects of a high fish and sea mammal diet. Higher DHA concentration in cord plasma is associated with longer gestation, better visual acuity at six months, and better mental and motor skills at 11 months.
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  • Essential n-3 Fatty Acids in Pregnant Women and Early Visual Acuity Maturation in Term Infants
    • Author: S. Innis, et al.
    • Journal: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2008
    • Summary: Researchers studied 135 women and their babies in a double blind prospective study to determine whether DHA omega-3 status is so low among some pregnant women to pose a risk to their babies' development. The researchers found that the women who eat lots of meat and little fish are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, and their babies do not do as well on eye tests as babies from mothers who are not deficient.
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  • Associations of maternal fish intake during pregnancy and breastfeeding duration with attainment of developmental milestones in early childhood: a study from the Danish National Birth Cohort
    • Author: E. Oken, et al.
    • Journal: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2008
    • Summary: Researchers followed more than 25,000 pairs of Danish mothers and children to determine the effect of maternal fish consumption during pregnancy on child development. Researchers asked mothers how much fish they ate, and about their children's developmental milestones like crawling and speaking. Compared with women who ate the least amount of fish, women with the highest intake (two ounces per day on average) had children 25 percent more likely to have higher developmental scores at six months and almost 30 percent more likely to have higher scores at 18 months.
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Depression and Mood

  • Dietary Patterns, n-3 Fatty Acids Intake from Seafood and High Levels of Anxiety Symptoms during Pregnancy: Findings from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children
    • Author: J. dos Santos Vaz, et al.
    • Journal: Public Library of Science One, 2013
    • Summary: Excessive anxiety during pregnancy is associated with low birth weight, shorter length of gestation, and negative effects on infant brain development, including stress regulation. Among over 9,500 pregnant women in the UK, those with no intake of omega-3s from seafood had a 53% greater likelihood of high levels of anxiety when compared to pregnant women who got at least 1.5 grams omega-3s from seafood per week.
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  • The role of fatty acids in the development and treatment of mood disorders.
    • Author: C. Owen, et al.
    • Journal: Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 2008
    • Summary: This review article examines recent evidence linking omega-3 deficiency and mood disorders. Authors reviewed studies that examined human brain tissue, animal models of depression, omega-3 and inflammation, and clinical trial data looking at omega-3s as treatment for depression.
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  • High levels of depressive symptoms in pregnancy with low omega-3 fatty acid intake from fish.
    • Author: J. Golding, et al.
    • Journal: Epidemiology, 2009
    • Summary: Researchers monitored more than 14,000 women, who were 32 weeks into their pregnancy, for their fish consumption and symptoms of depression. Compared with women consuming more than 1.5 g omega-3 from seafood per week, those consuming none were more likely to have high levels of depressive symptoms at 32 weeks' gestation. This data supports an association between low omega-3 intake from seafood and increased risk of high levels of depressive symptoms during pregnancy.
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Heart Health

  • Fish Intake, Contaminants, and Human Health: Evaluating the Risks and Benefits.
    • Author: D. Mozaffarian, et al.
    • Journal: Journal of the American Medical Association, 2006
    • Summary: The authors review the evidence evaluating the risks and benefits of eating seafood, specifically: (1) intake of fish or fish oil and risk of cardiovascular disease; (2) effects of methylmercury and fish oil on early neurodevelopment; (3) risks of methylmercury on cardiovascular and neurologic outcomes in adults; (4) health risks of dioxins and PCBs in fish. Based on their review, the strength of the evidence suggests that the benefits of fish intake exceed the possible risks.
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  • Association of Marine Omega-3 Fatty Acid Levels With Telomeric Aging in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease
    • Author: R. Farzaneh-Far, et al.
    • Journal: Journal of the American Medical Association, 2010
    • Summary: New research suggests that the omega-3s found in fish may correlate with longevity. In a recent study published in JAMA, cardiologists measured telomere length for five years in patients who had coronary-artery blockage and previous heart attacks. They observed that people with high omega-3 levels had significantly less shortening of telomeres over five years, compared with patients with lower levels of omega-3 intake.
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Landmark Reviews

  • 2010 Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on the Risks and Benefits of Fish Consumption: Executive Summary
    • Author: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and World Health Organization
    • Summary: Driven by the disconnect between growing public concern about seafood contaminants and a growing body of seafood science confirming benefits, seventeen experts met to guide governments on better seafood communications. They recommend that governments emphasize not only the benefits of eating fish for heart health in adults and brain development in babies, but the risks of avoiding fish for these groups.
    • Full report
  • 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
    • Author: U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    • Summary: Based on two years of research conducted by independent experts, the Dietary Guidelines recommend Americans, "Increase the amount and variety of seafood consumed by choosing seafood in place of some meat and poultry." Eating seafood at least twice a week reduces the risk of heart disease, whether people already have heart disease or not. It is recommended that "women who are pregnant or breastfeeding consume at least 8 and up to 12 ounces of a variety of seafood per week" to boost their babies eye and brain development.
    • Full report

Omega-3 Levels

  • Direct Diet Quantification Indicates Low Intakes of (n-3) Fatty Acids in Children 4-8 Years Old
    • Author: S. Madden, et al.
    • Journal: Journal of Nutrition, 2009
    • Summary: Researchers measured the amount of omega-3 fatty acids Canadian children ages 4-8 get through the foods they eat to compare this level with recent recommendations. Parents of 41 children duplicated the exact foods consumed by their child over a period of 3 days for macronutrient analysis. The total fat intake was 36.8 grams per day, of which 0.25 percent (92.5mg) was DHA+EPA omega-3. Based on the Dietary Reference Intakes from the Institute of Medicine, 78 percent of children did not meet the suggested adequate intake for DHA+EPA. Based on the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada recommendation (adjusted for children), 90 percent of children did not meet the suggested intake for DHA+EPA.
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Pre-term Birth

  • An economic evaluation of alternative test-intervention strategies to prevent spontaneous pre-term birth in singleton pregnancies.
    • Author: A. Tsourapas, et al.
    • Journal: Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 2009
    • Summary: Researchers evaluated 22 types of test on the effectiveness of 40 possible interventions for the cost efficacy of reducing preterm labor. Researchers observed that supplementation of asymptomatic women with one fish oil capsule per day as potentially cost-effective in preventing threatened pre-term labor before 34 weeks.
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