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Polyunsaturated fatty acids in pregnancy and breastfeeding 

Polyunsaturated fatty acids in pregnancy and breastfeeding
Polyunsaturated fatty acids in pregnancy and breastfeeding

Sir Peter Gluckman

, Mark Hanson

, Chong Yap Seng

, and Anne Bardsley

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date: 20 June 2021

Evidence for the importance of the long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in fetal and infant development is growing, as is interest in what constitutes an appropriate intake from sources such as oily fish or dietary supplements for pregnant women and/or infants. Polyunsaturated fatty acids have been implicated in maternal mental health and aspects of infant development, including cognitive and visual function, adiposity, and allergy. Western diets have become imbalanced with regard to the ratio of omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids, and recommendations to correct this imbalance include increasing the maternal intake of oily fish. However, this recommendation needs to be evaluated in light of the increased risk of exposure to contaminants such as mercury. Vegetable oils and cereals are important sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids for vegetarians.

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