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Plasma DHA declines more rapidly postpartum in lactating than in nonlactating women

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6n-3) phospholipids rise during pregnancy in order to supply the needs of the fetus, especially for the developing central nervous system. Otto et al. compared the postpartum normalization of maternal plasma phospholipids in lactating and nonlactating women. The 57 healthy subjects were all followed from week 36 of pregnancy to 64 weeks postpartum, during which 22 were nonlactating and 35 breast-fed their infants. Normalization of total phospholipid fatty acids proceeded similarly in both groups of women.

Maternal DHA declined rapidly in both groups, and declined more significantly in the lactating women. The study suggests that DHA is selectively transferred to breast milk during early lactation.


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Contact: Elizabeth Horowitz
horowitz@ascn.faseb.org
301-530-7038
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
23-May-2001


Page: 1

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