Trial subanalysis suggested blood pressure benefit in kids.
Omega-3 supplementation during pregnancy may help protect children’s hearts from some of the early cardiovascular consequences of high BMI, a secondary analysis of the KUDOS trial suggested.
Among overweight or obese children, those whose mothers had been randomized to take docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) during pregnancy had lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure than those whose mothers received placebo (mean 100.34/59.76 mm Hg vs 104.28/64.7 mm Hg).
DHA-exposed overweight and obese children also had blood pressures not significantly different from those of normal weight children, Susan Carlson, PhD, of the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, and colleagues, reported in JAMA Network Open.
Because both groups of children were exposed to DHA in breast milk or formula, “we interpret these findings as an advantage of intrauterine DHA exposure for childhood BP,” the researchers wrote, suggesting there may be a programming effect of this early exposure on later blood pressure response to weight.
In the only other randomized clinical study to measure childhood blood pressure after DHA exposure early on in development, researchers “found that infants who were fed a formula with DHA for the first 4 months of life had lower SBP and DBP at age 6 years,” Carlson’s group noted. “Their results suggest that DHA exposure can program lower childhood BP for at least some period after birth.”
Main results from the randomized KUDOS trial previously demonstrated that supplementation with 600 mg per day of DHA capsules in the last half of gestation yielded longer gestation, greater birthweight and size, and fewer early preterm and very-low weight births compared with placebo.
The trial included 350 pregnant women in the Kansas City area enrolled at a mean 14.5 weeks’ gestation (all before 20 weeks). The follow-up study, which looked at cognition, started when the children were 18 months of age and included 190 who consented. Blood pressure assessment started at age 4 years and was measured semiannually through age 6.
However, one limitation of the study was how the placebo group mothers with overweight or obese children breastfed for a shorter duration, and that their children consumed more sodium compared with overweight or obese children in the DHA group.
“Although these subgroup differences were clearly not statistically significant because of large [standard deviations], they do suggest that subgroups of children may not be entirely comparable,” the researchers cautioned. “Consequently, they limit the conclusion that DHA alone mitigated the association between overweight or obese weight status and childhood BP.”