Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter October 13, 2018

Effect of n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids supplementation in healthy mothers on DHA and EPA profiles in maternal and umbilical blood: a randomized controlled trial

Dragan Soldo ORCID logo, Matija Mikulić-Kajić, Lara Spalldi Barišić, Nikolina Penava, Martina Orlović, Neven Soldo and Martin Kajić



The objective of the study was to compare the effect of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) dietary supplementation on their concentration in total lipids (TL) and lipid fractions of maternal and umbilical vein (UV) blood. The specific objective was to analyze the impact of EPA and DHA supplementation on pregnancy outcome and neonatal birth weight.


Women were randomly single-blinded (randomized controlled trial; ISRCTN36705743) allocated to the group receiving EPA and DHA supplementation (supplemented group) or the group receiving placebo-corn oil (control group) in the time period from January 1st, 2016 until March 1st, 2017. Women in the supplemented group (n=45) took 360 mg EPA and 240 mg DHA daily while controls (n=42) were given a placebo. Maternal and UV bloods were obtained at delivery. After lipid extraction, phospholipids (PL), cholesterol esters (CE), triacylglycerols (TG) and non-esterified fatty acids were separated by thin layer chromatography and analyzed by gas chromatography.


Higher DHA concentrations in TL (37.24±21.87 mg/L), PL (13.14±8.07 mg/L) and triacylglycerols (2.24±2.21 mg/L) were recorded in mothers from the supplemented group when compared to the study group (TL 21.89±14.53 mg/L; P<0.001; PL 9.33±5.70 mg/L; P=0.013; TG 0.56±0.43 mg/L; P<0.001). Higher DHA concentrations in UV samples were found in TL (11.51±7.34 mg/L), PL (5.29±3.31 mg/L) and triacylglycerols (0.62±0.46 mg/L) from the supplemented groups compared with controls (TL 7.37±3.60 mg/L; P=0.002; PL 3.52±2.19 mg/L; P=0.005; TG 0.40±0.46 mg/L; P=0.035). The ratio of AA:DHA was lower in maternal (2.43) and UV serum (4.0) of the supplemented group than in the control group (maternal 3.85 P<0.001; UV 4.91 P<0.001).


The study demonstrated the higher ratio of AA/DHA in the control group indicating that pregnant women on the traditional Herzegovina diet need supplementation with DHA and EPA.

Corresponding author: Dragan Soldo, MD, Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Mostar Clinical Hospital Center, School of Medicine, University of Mostar, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tel.: +38736/347-050, Mobile: +38763/321-386

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

  2. Research funding: None declared.

  3. Employment or leadership: None declared.

  4. Honorarium: None declared.

  5. 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.


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Received: 2018-05-03
Accepted: 2018-09-14
Published Online: 2018-10-13
Published in Print: 2019-02-25

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