Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 28, 2018

Is fish oil supplementation effective on maternal serum FBS, oral glucose tolerance test, hemoglobin and hematocrit in low risk pregnant women? A triple-blind randomized controlled trial

  • Leila Vahedi , Alireza Ostadrahimi , Fatemeh Edalati-Fard , Hossein Aslani and Azizeh Farshbaf-Khalili EMAIL logo



Fish oil contains polyunsaturated fatty acids including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which were considered as essential fatty acids. The purpose of present study was to evaluate the effects of fish oil supplementation on maternal serum fasting blood sugar (FBS), oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), hemoglobin (Hb), and hematocrit (Hct).


In this randomized triple-blind clinical trial, 150 pregnant women were allocated into two groups randomly. In the intervention group, women received one fish oil capsule daily (1,000 mg consisted of 120 mg DHA and 180 mg EPA), and control group received placebo from the end of twentieth week of pregnancy until delivery (140 capsules). FBS, 2-hour 75 g OGTT, Hb, and Hct were measured at 6–10 and 26–30 weeks of pregnancy. Analysis was based on intervention to treat.


At the weeks 26–30, mean FBS in the intervention and control groups were 76.92 (9.8) and 75.64 (8.2) mg/dl, respectively [adjusted mean difference (aMD) (95% CI):1.46 (−2.13 to 5.05)]. Also, there was no significant difference between two groups in 2-hour OGTT [aMD (95% CI): −4.69 (−13.75 to 4.52)]. Mean (SD) Hb was 11.8 (1.1) versus 11.8 (0.7) g/dl in the intervention and control groups, respectively [aMD (95% CI): 0.001 (−0.328 to 0.330)], mean (SD) Hct were 36.12% (2.8%) and 35.84% (2.3%), respectively [aMD (95% CI): 0.25 (−0.65 to 1.14)].


Based on the findings of present study, fish oil supplementation has no significant effect on Hb, Hct, FBS and 2-hour OGTT of pregnant women.

Funding statement: This study was financially supported by the Research Vice-chancellor of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences [Grant No. 5/77/5241].


Hereby, we appreciate the Zahravi Pharmacy Company, Health Vice-chancellor of Tabriz and its authorities, all personnel of health centers and all the women who patiently assisted us to complete this study.

  1. Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Employment or leadership: None declared.

  3. Honorarium: None declared.

  4. Competing interests: The funding organization(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.


[1] Birch EE, Garfield S, Castañeda Y, Hughbanks-Wheaton D, Uauy R, Hoffman D. Visual acuity and cognitive outcomes at 4 years of age in a double-blind, randomized trial of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid-supplemented infant formula. Early Hum Dev. 2007;83(5):279–84.10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2006.11.003Search in Google Scholar

[2] Innis SM, Friesen RW. Essential n− 3 fatty acids in pregnant women and early visual acuity maturation in term infants. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87(3):548–57.10.1093/ajcn/87.3.548Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[3] Birch EE, Castañeda YS, Wheaton DH, Birch DG, Uauy RD, Hoffman DR. Visual maturation of term infants fed long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid–supplemented or control formula for 12 mo. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;81(4):871–79.10.1093/ajcn/81.4.871Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[4] Hibbeln JR, Davis JM, Steer C, Emmett P, Rogers I, Williams C, et al. Maternal seafood consumption in pregnancy and neurodevelopmental outcomes in childhood (ALSPAC study): an observational cohort study. The Lancet. 2007;369(9561):578–85.10.1016/S0140-6736(07)60277-3Search in Google Scholar

[5] Brantsæter AL, Birgisdottir BE, Meltzer HM, Kvalem HE, Alexander J, Magnus P, et al. Maternal seafood consumption and infant birth weight, length and head circumference in the norwegian mother and child cohort study. Br J Nutr. 2012;107(03):436–44.10.1017/S0007114511003047Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[6] Mahaffey KR, Schoeny R. Maternal seafood consumption and children’s development. The Lancet. 2007;370(9583):216–17.10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61116-7Search in Google Scholar

[7] Bohn Y, Hill A, Park A, et al. The mommy docs’ ultimate guide to pregnancy and birth. Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press, Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2011.Search in Google Scholar

[8] Bemrah N, Sirot V, Leblanc JC, Volatier JL. Fish and seafood consumption and omega 3 intake in French coastal populations: CALIPSO survey. Public Health Nutr. 2009;12(05):599–608.10.1017/S1368980008002681Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[9] Eslick GD, Howe PR, Smith C, Priest R, Bensoussan A. Benefits of fish oil supplementation in hyperlipidemia: a systematic review and metaanalysis. Int J Cardiol. 2009;136(1):4–16.10.1016/j.ijcard.2008.03.092Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[10] Rodacki CL, Rodacki AL, Pereira G, Naliwaiko K, Coelho I, Pequito D, et al. Fish-oil supplementation enhances the effects of strength training in elderly women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;95(2):428–36.10.3945/ajcn.111.021915Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[11] Xie L, Innis SM. Genetic variants of the FADS1 FADS2 gene cluster are associated with altered (n-6) and (n-3) essential fatty acids in plasma and erythrocyte phospholipids in women during pregnancy and in breast milk during lactation. J Nutr. 2008;138(11):2222–28.10.3945/jn.108.096156Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[12] Schuchardt JP, Schneider I, Meyer H, Neubronner J, Schacky C, Hahn A. Incorporation of EPA and DHA into plasma phospholipids in response to different omega-3 fatty acid formulations-a comparative bioavailability study of fish oil vs. krill oil. Lipids Health Dis. 2011;10(1):1.10.1186/1476-511X-10-145Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

[13] Makrides M, Gibson RA, McPhee AJ, Yelland L, Quinlivan J, Ryan P. DOMInO Investigative Team. Effect of DHA supplementation during pregnancy on maternal depression and neurodevelopment of young children: a randomized controlled trial. Jama. 2010;304(15):1675–83.10.1001/jama.2010.1507Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[14] Helland IB, Smith L, Blomén B, Saarem K, Saugstad OD, Drevon CA. Effect of supplementing pregnant and lactating mothers with n-3 very-long-chain fatty acids on children’s IQ and body mass index at 7 years of age. Pediatrics. 2008;122(2):e472–e479.10.1542/peds.2007-2762Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[15] Oken E, Radesky JS, Wright RO, Bellinger DC, Amarasiriwardena CJ, Kleinman KP, et al. Maternal fish intake during pregnancy, blood mercury levels, and child cognition at age 3 years in a US cohort. Am J Epidemiol. 2008;167(10):1171–81.10.1093/aje/kwn034Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

[16] Yan Y, Jiang W, Spinetti T, Tardivel A, Castillo R, Bourquin C, et al. Omega-3 fatty acids prevent inflammation and metabolic disorder through inhibition of NLRP3 inflammasome activation. Immunity. 2013;38(6):1154–63.10.1016/j.immuni.2013.05.015Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[17] Oh DY, Talukdar S, Bae EJ, Imamura T, Morinaga H, Fan W, et al. GPR120 is an omega-3 fatty acid receptor mediating potent anti-inflammatory and insulin-sensitizing effects. Cell. 2010;142(5):687–98.10.1016/j.cell.2010.07.041Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

[18] Mostad IL, Bjerve KS, Bjorgaas MR, Lydersen S, Grill V. Effects of n-3 fatty acids in subjects with type 2 diabetes: reduction of insulin sensitivity and time-dependent alteration from carbohydrate to fat oxidation. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;84:540–50.10.1093/ajcn/84.3.540Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[19] Puhakainen I, Ahola I, Yki-Jarvinen H. Dietary supplementation with n-3 fatty acids increases gluconeogenesis from glycerol but not hepatic glucose production in patients with non- insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995;61:121–26.10.1093/ajcn/61.1.121Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[20] Carpentier YA, Portois L, Malaisse WJ. n-3 fatty acids and the metabolic syndrome. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;83(suppl):1499S–504S.10.1093/ajcn/83.6.1499SSearch in Google Scholar PubMed

[21] Woodman RJ, Mori TA, Burke V, Puddey IB, Watts GF, Beilin LJ. Effects of purified eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids on glycemic control, blood pressure, and serum lipids in type 2 diabetic patients with treated hypertension. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002;76(5):1007–15.10.1093/ajcn/76.5.1007Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[22] Jamieson JA, Kuhnlein HV, Weiler HA, Egeland GM. Higher n3-fatty acid status is associated with lower risk of iron depletion among food insecure canadian inuit women. Bmc. 2013;13: 289. Public Health.10.1186/1471-2458-13-289Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

[23] Ostadrahimi A, Mohammad-Alizadeh S, Mirgafourvand M, Yaghoubi S, Shahrisa E, Farshbaf-Khalili A. Effects of fish oil supplementation on gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM): a systematic review. Ircmj. 2016;18(11):e24690.10.5812/ircmj.24690Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

[24] Ostadrahimi A, Mohammad-Alizadeh S, Mirghafourvand M, Farshbaf-Khalili S, Jafarilar-Agdam N, Farshbaf-Khalili A. The effect of fish oil supplementation on maternal and neonatal outcomes: a tripleblind, randomized controlled trial. J Perinat Med. 2017 Jan 31. pii:/j/jpme.ahead-of-print/jpm-2016-0037/jpm-2016-0037.xml. DOI: 10.1515/jpm-2016-0037.Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[25] Oken E, Mandy B. Fish, fish oil, and pregnancy. Jama. 2010;304(15):1717–18.10.1001/jama.2010.1541Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[26] Judge MP, Harel O, Lammi-Keefe CJ. Maternal consumption of a docosahexaenoic acid–containing functional food during pregnancy: benefit for infant performance on problem-solving but not on recognition memory tasks at age 9 mo. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;85(6):1572–77.10.1093/ajcn/85.6.1572Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[27] Damsgaard CT, Lauritzen L, Kjaer TM, Holm PM, Fruekilde MB, Michaelsen KF, et al. Fish oil supplementation modulates immune function in healthy infants. J Nutr. 2007;137(4):1031–36.10.1093/jn/137.4.1031Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[28] Horowitz KM, Ingardia CJ, Borgida AF. Anemia in pregnancy. Clin Lab Med. 2013;33(2):281–91.10.1016/j.cll.2013.03.016Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[29] Karcaaltincaba D, Kandemir O, Yalvac S, Güvendag-Guven S, Haberal A. Prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus and gestational impaired glucose tolerance in pregnant women evaluated by national diabetes data group and carpenter and coustancriteria. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2009;106(3):246–49.10.1016/j.ijgo.2009.04.004Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[30] Bouchard L, Thibault S, Guay SP, Santure M, Monpetit A, St-Pierre J, et al. Leptin gene epigenetic adaptation to impaired glucose metabolism during pregnancy. Diabetes Care. 2010;33(11):2436–41.10.2337/dc10-1024Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

[31] Roncaglioni MC, Tombesi M, Avanzini F, Barlera S, Caimi V, Longoni P, et al. n–3 fatty acids in patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors. N Engl J Med. 2013;368:1800–08.10.1056/NEJMoa1205409Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[32] Ramakrishnan U, Stein AD, Parra-Cabrera S, Wang M, Imhoff-Kunsch B, Juárez-Márquez S, et al. Effects of docosahexaenoic acid supplementation during pregnancy on gestational age and size at birth: randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in Mexico. Food Nutr Bull. 2010;31(2):S108–S116.10.1177/15648265100312S203Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[33] Daak AA, Ghebremeskel K, Hassan Z, Attallah B, Azan HH, Elbashir MI, et al. Effect of omega-3 (n− 3) fatty acid supplementation in patients with sickle cell anemia: randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;97(1):37–44.10.3945/ajcn.112.036319Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[34] Kaushik M, Mozaffarian D, Spiegelman D, Manson JE, Willett WC, Hu FB. “Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, fish intake, and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90(3):613–20.10.3945/ajcn.2008.27424Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

[35] Zhou SJ, Yelland L, McPhee AJ, Quinlivan J, Gibson RA, Makrides M. Fish-oil supplementation in pregnancy does not reduce the risk of gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;95(6):1378–84.10.3945/ajcn.111.033217Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[36] Samimi M, Jamilian M, Asemi Z, Esmaillzadeh A. Effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on insulin metabolism and lipid profiles in gestational diabetes: randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Clin Nutr. 2015 Jun;34(3):388–93. DOI: 10.1016/j.clnu.2014.06.005.Search in Google Scholar PubMed

Received: 2018-01-25
Accepted: 2018-02-12
Published Online: 2018-02-28

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

Downloaded on 4.10.2023 from
Scroll to top button