Effect of omega-3 fatty acids supplementation during pregnancy on lung function in preschoolers: a clinical trial

J Asthma. 2019 Mar;56(3):296-302. doi: 10.1080/02770903.2018.1452934. Epub 2018 Apr 4.


Rationale: Prenatal omega-3 fatty acids improve alveolarization, diminish inflammation, and improve pulmonary growth, but it is unclear whether these outcomes translate into improved postnatal lung function.

Objective: We assessed the effect of prenatal supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on offspring lung function through 60 months of age.

Methods: We included a cohort of 772 Mexican preschoolers whose mothers participated in a clinical trial (NCT00646360) of supplementation with DHA or a placebo from week 18-22 of gestation through delivery.

Measurements: The children were followed after birth and anthropometric measurements and forced oscillation tests were performed at 36, 48, and 60 months of age. The effect of DHA was tested using a longitudinal mixed effect models.

Results: Overall, mean (Standard Deviation) of the measurements of respiratory system resistance and respiratory system reactance at 6, 8, and 10 Hz during follow up period were 11.3 (2.4), 11.1 (2.4), 10.3 (2.2) and -5.2 (1.6), -4.8 (1.7), -4.6 (1.6), respectively. There were no significant differences in pulmonary function by treatment group. DHA did not affect the average lung function or the trajectories through 60 months.

Conclusions: Prenatal DHA supplementation did not influence pulmonary function in this cohort of Mexican preschoolers.

Keywords: Epidemiology; mechanism; pediatrics; pregnancy; prevention.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Weights and Measures
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mexico / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / epidemiology*
  • Respiratory Function Tests*
  • Young Adult


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00646360