Go easy on omega-6 during pregnancy

Go easy on omega-6 during pregnancy

Doctors advise women to avoid overdoing omega-6 fats when they’re expecting

In the West, people tend to eat too much omega 6 fat, especially one particualr variety called linoleic acid. This can be found in food like potato chips and they are also in vegetable oil. Research showns that linoleic acid can cause inflammation and may also increase your risk of heart disease. 

The Journal of Physiology has published new reseach that seems to show that eating higher than the recommended daily intake of linoleic acid may be harmful when you are pregnant. The feature referred to a study in rats that found those who had a diet high in linoleic acid had changes to their liver and changed concentrations of inflammatory proteins. This protein can cause contraction of the uterus in pregnancy. Added to this, a hormone regulating the baby’s growth and development was decreased. Taken together, these changes could cause a greater risk of complications in pregnancy and poor development in babies. 

If human pregnancies followed the same pattern, it suggests that women considering getting pregnant or those already pregnant ought to think about having less linoleic acid.

A diet that is high in linoleic acid also tends to be high in fat, sugar and salt, so mothers are advised to ensure their diet is healthy and low in these substances during pregnancy.

The paper’s senior author, Deanne Skelly said: “It is important for pregnant women to consider their diet, and our research is yet another example that potentially consuming too much of a certain type of nutrient can have a negative impact on the growing baby.”

The Journal of Physiology publishes advances in physiology which increase our understanding of how our bodies function in health and disease. h

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