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The importance of marine fatty acids

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A link between low dietary consumption of marine oils and pre-eclampsia (and thus low birth weight babies) has been inferred by comparing the relatively low rates of these conditions in the Faroe Islands and Greenland with the higher rates in Denmark

A link between low dietary consumption of marine oils and pre-eclampsia (and thus low birth weight babies) has been inferred by comparing the relatively low rates of these conditions in the Faroe Islands and Greenland with the higher rates in Denmark. An important difference between these countries is that the diet in the Faroe Islands and Greenland is higher in marine oils. Better birth outcomes in these islands are attributed to this (Lancet, 1989; 334: 1146; Br J Ob Gyn, 1990; 97: 1077-9).

In one study, the preventative effect of marine omega-3 fatty acids on premature delivery and pre-eclampsia was assessed. The trial involved 5000 women divided into two groups. One group received marine oils, the other did not. Among those who took the oils, there was a 20.4 per cent reduction in premature delivery and a 31.5 per cent reduction in rates of pre-eclampsia (Br J Nutr, 1990; 64: 599-609). Although some have hypothesised that high intake of marine oils could be so effective that it may lead to a risk of post term delivery, this has not been proven (Acta Ob Gyn Scand, 1997; 76: 38-44).


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