2

votes

Pregnancy and DHA supplementation

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 16, 2012 at 6:11 PM

So my wife was given some supplements from the nurse (trial boxes) and told that she should take these and stop taking any regular DHA supplementation (I know she possibly needs the folic acid, but that's a separate discussion). Anyhow the purported benefits (vs. fish-oil for example) according to the nurse were that:

  1. They're vegetarian
  2. They don't have a "burp-back" effect

I was kind of confused on both points since (1) from my understanding fish oils or cod liver oil supply a better from of DHA (when in triglyceride form) and (2) good fish oils (pharmaceutical grade) don't even have the purported burp-back which from my understanding is just a sign the molecules have been damaged through heat exposure etc. Furthermore, I also believe EPA (not just DHA) might have healthful benefits as well [1]. I'm also a little concerned also about spirulina itself [2]. Maybe just my incorrect gut feeling, but it seems like a trendy "health" food that hasn't really been studied extensively.

Has anyone on Paleo-style, Low-Carb diet (and pregnant) had experience with DHA/EPA supplementation? Consider that my wife gets plenty of grass fed meats, fish 1-2 times week, pasture butters, eggs high in high in DHA, etc. Could the added supplementation be too much? If not, any recommendation on the best source of supplementation?

[1] http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/2012/01/just-eat-fish.html

[2] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944711308000329

E91fd339d760ed76cc72570a679ebf5a

(2369)

on February 19, 2012
at 02:41 PM

giraffefro: Yes I did discover the MTHFR mutation via 23andme but my doctor also tested for it after I was pregnant and prescribed FolaPro as a result.

D6304567ada7ac5e8c6f4e5902270831

(90)

on February 18, 2012
at 06:14 PM

... And respecting her own autonomy and decision-making is way more important to me than precision in her diet. Although we have been discussing seeing a nutritional therapist for ourselves and our kids, so if she decides to begin keeping a diet journal for better accuracy, that might help a lot.

D6304567ada7ac5e8c6f4e5902270831

(90)

on February 18, 2012
at 06:13 PM

Yes. This is the general theme of my concern: The regular supplementation for pregnancy seems to be geared towards people who follow a regular diet--the standard American diet that leaves us deficient in most of the nutrients needed during pregnancy. Getting our current doctor to understand this has been ... ugh ... frustrating. We might just need to find a better doctor. On the flip side I don't have a good of a grasp of the how much of which nutrients my wife is consuming through her diet daily. We both work and what she eats at work is somewhat of a mystery to me ...

D6304567ada7ac5e8c6f4e5902270831

(90)

on February 18, 2012
at 06:06 PM

Yes, we eat pasture-raised eggs and eggs reported to be high in omega-3. However my wife generally does not like to eat more than 1 egg a day (she still has innate fear of "cholesterol" ... hehe ... hearts and minds, hearts and minds). While I'm rather obsessive about diet myself, I don't like to try to force my wife into eating things but let her trust her own intuition while I just share with her my own insights attained through daily research and talking with others who are informed. Her diet has gradually tended towards aligning with mine though since ... she's noticed :-) [blushes]

D6304567ada7ac5e8c6f4e5902270831

(90)

on February 18, 2012
at 05:59 PM

Thanks Jenna! Currently we're taking a Nordic Naturals [1] fish oil (actually it's from anchovies and sardines--mistake above on the "CLO"). [1] http://www.nordicnaturals.com/en/Products/Product_Details/514/?ProdID=1469

D6304567ada7ac5e8c6f4e5902270831

(90)

on February 18, 2012
at 05:54 PM

Hehe ... my wife ... liver ... not happening :-/ She absolutely hates the taste of liver, unfortunately. Maybe she'll develop a taste for it ... one of these days. From my knowledge it's (at least chicken liver is) the highest natural source of folic acid/B9. Might be wrong on this; my research there was rather superficial. So for the time being we think CLO (for DHA) it is!

D6304567ada7ac5e8c6f4e5902270831

(90)

on February 18, 2012
at 05:49 PM

Ah, thanks for the clarification! For some reason I thought it was the other way around. [I've spent most of the last 10 years of life figuring out how to push bytes back and forth between computers instead of molecular biology :-) It's exciting to be fortifying my knowledge on these more important topics with the help of a very knowledgable community.]

D6304567ada7ac5e8c6f4e5902270831

(90)

on February 18, 2012
at 05:46 PM

This is really interesting to know. I'm learning now from your post and Gazelle's that having a better understanding of our genetics is rather crucial.

D6304567ada7ac5e8c6f4e5902270831

(90)

on February 18, 2012
at 05:44 PM

Hi Gazelle. That's really interesting concerning your genes and folic acid metabolism. Just curious, how did you discover this? 23andme? Also concerning artificial colors, the supplement samples the nurse gave us had FD&C Red #33, FD&C Red #40, FD&C Blue #1, ... Wasn't too thrilled about that either.

B8592e62f9804ddabae73c1103d6bcb9

(1956)

on February 16, 2012
at 09:17 PM

Kirsten, yes it's much easier to convert DHA to EPA than vice versa.

Ef228708abd5f082f633b1cd1d64eee1

(892)

on February 16, 2012
at 07:14 PM

Doesn't DHA convert to EPA as needed in the body, but the reverse doesn't happen? Sorry, my memory is a little shaky here...

  • D6304567ada7ac5e8c6f4e5902270831

    asked by

    (90)
  • Views
    2.6K
  • Last Activity
    1280D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

6 Answers

best answer

2
E91fd339d760ed76cc72570a679ebf5a

(2369)

on February 16, 2012
at 06:40 PM

I've taken a food-based prenatal multi-vitamin plus fermented cod liver oil and butter oil throughout my pregnancy. I also eat a good amount of fish, shellfish, grass-fed beef, liver, butter, pastured eggs, raw dairy, etc. I avoided those trial boxes of prescription prenatals like the plague - they have icky ingredients like artificial colors. No thanks!

I do take extra folate because I have a genetic mutation that interferes with my metabolism of folic acid.

D6304567ada7ac5e8c6f4e5902270831

(90)

on February 18, 2012
at 05:44 PM

Hi Gazelle. That's really interesting concerning your genes and folic acid metabolism. Just curious, how did you discover this? 23andme? Also concerning artificial colors, the supplement samples the nurse gave us had FD&C Red #33, FD&C Red #40, FD&C Blue #1, ... Wasn't too thrilled about that either.

E91fd339d760ed76cc72570a679ebf5a

(2369)

on February 19, 2012
at 02:41 PM

giraffefro: Yes I did discover the MTHFR mutation via 23andme but my doctor also tested for it after I was pregnant and prescribed FolaPro as a result.

best answer

2
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 16, 2012
at 06:44 PM

If you have a good diet, than I don't think there is any reason to supplement DHA. If I did supplement DHA though, I would use the algal stuff just because genetically I have a mutation on rs174537 (which I share with 10% of caucasians, it's also more common in Mexicans), which possibly explains why I do poorly on fish oil, because the EPA inhibits arachidonic acid metabolism more than it would for normal people. I get the appropriate amount of DHA and EPA from my diet, from small amounts of fish and good amounts of grass-fed meat.

D6304567ada7ac5e8c6f4e5902270831

(90)

on February 18, 2012
at 05:46 PM

This is really interesting to know. I'm learning now from your post and Gazelle's that having a better understanding of our genetics is rather crucial.

3
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on February 16, 2012
at 07:16 PM

Sounds like your wife will get plenty of DHA from her diet.

I recommend Neptune Krill Oil to my pregnant clients who need a bit extra. Or on weeks when they don't feel like eating fish.

Just a bit of caution, if she chooses to use CLO. If she is also eating liver regularly, it is easy to get too much A. Excessive A can be especially toxic in pregnancy.

Liver OR CLO, (but not both) is what I recommend.

D6304567ada7ac5e8c6f4e5902270831

(90)

on February 18, 2012
at 05:54 PM

Hehe ... my wife ... liver ... not happening :-/ She absolutely hates the taste of liver, unfortunately. Maybe she'll develop a taste for it ... one of these days. From my knowledge it's (at least chicken liver is) the highest natural source of folic acid/B9. Might be wrong on this; my research there was rather superficial. So for the time being we think CLO (for DHA) it is!

2
4b0fa9c9960bc2a409b06354d0bed92f

on February 16, 2012
at 06:38 PM

I'm pregnant and I don't always get fish 1-2 times every week, so I take a fish oil supplement every day as insurance. Chris Kresser of the Healthy Baby Code recommends fermented cod liver oil daily on top of weekly fish consumption. I'm not concerned about getting too much DHA/EPA, and if your wife is consuming fish a few times a week my gut is that she shouldn't be concerned either. My midwife recommends a prenatal plus fish oil supplementation, so I'm currently taking the New Chapter Perfect Prenatal and Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Fish Oil pills (plus some other supplements recommended by my midwife).

D6304567ada7ac5e8c6f4e5902270831

(90)

on February 18, 2012
at 05:59 PM

Thanks Jenna! Currently we're taking a Nordic Naturals [1] fish oil (actually it's from anchovies and sardines--mistake above on the "CLO"). [1] http://www.nordicnaturals.com/en/Products/Product_Details/514/?ProdID=1469

1
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 16, 2012
at 09:37 PM

If she was vegan and refused any other DHA/EPA supplements I'd say this is the way to go, studies in rats do show that is crosses the blood-brain barrier and can help build brain tissue in the pup. But, if she eats animal sources of DHA/EPA already, I don't see why "vegetarian" formula would be a selling point.

Hits me the wrong way at the gut level too, we evolved to eat the things further up the food chain who have transformed the lower organisms into more bio-available packets for our digestive tract. Why do an unprecedented experiment on your child just to avoid fish burps? Unless you are married to a small crustacean instead of a woman, I'd stick with the fish and animal sources.

If it is spirulina (blue-green algae) based I'd avoid it like the plague too, there have been too many contamination issues, and the beta-methyl-amino-alanine (BMAA) found in many samples has been implicated in early onset dementia (roughly 10 years after any extended exposure, regardless of age).

D6304567ada7ac5e8c6f4e5902270831

(90)

on February 18, 2012
at 06:13 PM

Yes. This is the general theme of my concern: The regular supplementation for pregnancy seems to be geared towards people who follow a regular diet--the standard American diet that leaves us deficient in most of the nutrients needed during pregnancy. Getting our current doctor to understand this has been ... ugh ... frustrating. We might just need to find a better doctor. On the flip side I don't have a good of a grasp of the how much of which nutrients my wife is consuming through her diet daily. We both work and what she eats at work is somewhat of a mystery to me ...

D6304567ada7ac5e8c6f4e5902270831

(90)

on February 18, 2012
at 06:14 PM

... And respecting her own autonomy and decision-making is way more important to me than precision in her diet. Although we have been discussing seeing a nutritional therapist for ourselves and our kids, so if she decides to begin keeping a diet journal for better accuracy, that might help a lot.

1
41e79168f1df5d656b6c4f3fef8c9b46

(630)

on February 16, 2012
at 06:41 PM

Can she just eat omega 3 enriched eggs?

D6304567ada7ac5e8c6f4e5902270831

(90)

on February 18, 2012
at 06:06 PM

Yes, we eat pasture-raised eggs and eggs reported to be high in omega-3. However my wife generally does not like to eat more than 1 egg a day (she still has innate fear of "cholesterol" ... hehe ... hearts and minds, hearts and minds). While I'm rather obsessive about diet myself, I don't like to try to force my wife into eating things but let her trust her own intuition while I just share with her my own insights attained through daily research and talking with others who are informed. Her diet has gradually tended towards aligning with mine though since ... she's noticed :-) [blushes]

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!