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Long-chain n-3 PUFA in vegetarian women: a metabolic perspective

Long-chain n-3 PUFA in vegetarian women: a metabolic perspective
Long-chain n-3 PUFA in vegetarian women: a metabolic perspective
Vegetarian diets have been associated with health benefits, but paradoxically are low in EPA and DHA which are important for development, particularly of the central nervous system, and for health. Humans have limited capacity for synthesis of EPA and DHA from α-linolenic acid, although this is greater in women than men. Oily fish and, to a lesser extent, dairy foods and meat are the primary sources of EPA and DHA in the diet. Exclusion of these foods from the diet by vegetarians is associated consistently with lower EPA and DHA status in vegetarian women compared with omnivores. The purpose of the present review was to assess the impact of low EPA and DHA status in vegetarian pregnancies on the development and health of children. EPA and DHA status was lower in breast milk and in infants of vegetarian mothers than those born to omnivore mothers, which suggests that in the absence of pre-formed dietary EPA and DHA, synthesis from α-linolenic acid is an important process in determining maternal EPA and DHA status in pregnancy. However, there have been no studies that have investigated the effect of low maternal DHA status in vegetarians on cognitive function in children. It is important to address this gap in knowledge in order to be confident that vegetarian and vegan diets during pregnancy are safe in the context of child development.
1-8
Burdge, Graham
09d60a07-8ca1-4351-9bf1-de6ffcfb2159
Tan, S.
6ee9d7e3-0cd0-41b9-805e-9c4edba790b6
Henry, Christiani
31d1b764-238a-4af6-a642-817cabb9fc37
Burdge, Graham
09d60a07-8ca1-4351-9bf1-de6ffcfb2159
Tan, S.
6ee9d7e3-0cd0-41b9-805e-9c4edba790b6
Henry, Christiani
31d1b764-238a-4af6-a642-817cabb9fc37

Burdge, Graham, Tan, S. and Henry, Christiani (2017) Long-chain n-3 PUFA in vegetarian women: a metabolic perspective. Journal of Nutritional Science, 6 (e58), 1-8. (doi:10.1017/jns.2017.62).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Vegetarian diets have been associated with health benefits, but paradoxically are low in EPA and DHA which are important for development, particularly of the central nervous system, and for health. Humans have limited capacity for synthesis of EPA and DHA from α-linolenic acid, although this is greater in women than men. Oily fish and, to a lesser extent, dairy foods and meat are the primary sources of EPA and DHA in the diet. Exclusion of these foods from the diet by vegetarians is associated consistently with lower EPA and DHA status in vegetarian women compared with omnivores. The purpose of the present review was to assess the impact of low EPA and DHA status in vegetarian pregnancies on the development and health of children. EPA and DHA status was lower in breast milk and in infants of vegetarian mothers than those born to omnivore mothers, which suggests that in the absence of pre-formed dietary EPA and DHA, synthesis from α-linolenic acid is an important process in determining maternal EPA and DHA status in pregnancy. However, there have been no studies that have investigated the effect of low maternal DHA status in vegetarians on cognitive function in children. It is important to address this gap in knowledge in order to be confident that vegetarian and vegan diets during pregnancy are safe in the context of child development.

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JNS V2 May 2017 Final revised1 - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 9 October 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 23 November 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 416008
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/416008
PURE UUID: 136140cb-54f9-4ae9-b556-e4a26b9c6c03
ORCID for Graham Burdge: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7665-2967

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 30 Nov 2017 17:30
Last modified: 14 Mar 2019 01:54

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