Beneficial effects of perinatal DHA supply on later neurological development have been reported. We assessed the effects of maternal DHA supplementation on the neurological development of their children. Healthy pregnant women from Spain, Germany, and Hungary were randomly assigned to a dietary supplement consisting of either fish oil (FO) (500 mg/d DHA + 150 mg/d EPA), 400 μg/d 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, both, or placebo from wk 20 of gestation until delivery. Fatty acids in plasma and erythrocyte phospholipids (PL) were determined in maternal blood at gestational wk 20 and 30 and in cord and maternal blood at delivery. Neurological development was assessed with the Hempel examination at the age of 4 y and the Touwen examination at 5.5 y. Minor neurological dysfunction, neurological optimality score (NOS), and fluency score did not differ between groups at either age, but the odds of children with the maximal NOS score increased with every unit increment in cord blood DHA level at delivery in plasma PL (95% CI: 1.094-2.262), erythrocyte phosphatidylethanolamine (95% CI: 1.091-2.417), and erythrocyte phosphatidylcholine (95% CI: 1.003-2.643). We conclude that higher DHA levels in cord blood may be related to a better neurological outcome at 5.5 y of age.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01180933.