Blood pressure (BP) and blood lipid profile (BLP) have been shown to track from childhood into adulthood, and n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) in breast milk have been suggested as mediators of the beneficial long-term effect of breastfeeding on BP and BLP. We aimed to investigate associations between n-3 LC-PUFA content in breast milk at 4 months postpartum and offspring BP and BLP in early life. BP and BLP were measured at 4, 18, and 36 months. Statistical analyses were sex-stratified and adjusted for gestational age, maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI), and maternal educational level. Based on 336 mother-child dyads, high n-3 LC-PUFA in breast milk was inversely associated with systolic and diastolic BP in boys at 4 months (β = -20.0 (95% CI = -33.4, -6.7), p = 0.004 and β = -10.2 (95% CI = -19.8, -0.5), p = 0.039, respectively); inversely associated with HDL cholesterol, and directly associated with triglyceride in girls at 4 months (β = -0.7 (95% CI = -1.1, -0.3), p = 0.001 and β = 3.1 (95% CI = 1.0, 5.2), p = 0.005, respectively). Associations observed at the later time points were non-significant. Furthermore, we observed sex-specific changes over time in both size and direction of the associations. Our results indicate that early intake of n-3 LC-PUFA can affect early development in cardiometabolic factors such as BP and BLP in a sex-specific manner. Follow-up and further investigation in later childhood is planned.
Keywords: cardiovascular health; cholesterol; cohort study; fatty acids; human milk; milk composition; omega-3; triglyceride.