Changes in the breast milk fatty acids and plasma lipids of nursing mothers following consumption of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid enriched eggs

Nutrition. 1996 Jan;12(1):8-12. doi: 10.1016/0899-9007(95)00013-5.


The effect of chicken eggs enriched with n-3 fatty acids on breast milk and plasma fatty acids was determined in eight nursing women. The n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) enriched eggs (n-3 eggs) contained 690 mg of n-3 fatty acid with 165 mg composed of longer chain n-3 fatty acid (C20:5 n-3, C22:5 n-3, and C22:6 n-3). Consuming two n-3 eggs as a part of their normal daily meal for 6 wk resulted in a significant (p < 0.05) deposition of total n-3 fatty acids at 3.6% compared with 1.9% for the pretest milk and a reduction in n-6:n-3 ratio (6.7 vs. 3.0). The C20 and C22 n-3 PUFA comprised 1.2% compared with 0.4% in the pretest milk (p < 0.05). Consuming n-3 eggs did not (p > 0.05) alter the C20:4 n-6 or the total n-6 fatty acid content of breast milk. Mean plasma total cholesterol and triglycerides were unchanged at the end of the 6-wk trial. Analysis of the breast milk lipids revealed increased (p < 0.05) predominance of n-6 and n-3 PUFA in the milk phospholipids over triglycerides. Positional distribution of phospholipid fatty acids indicated 20:4 n-6 and 20:5 n-3 in the sn-2 position, whereas the sn-1 position had increased levels of C16:0 and C18:0 (p < 0.05). The present study demonstrates that breast milk n-3 PUFA content can be increased without altering the plasma cholesterol or triglycerides when the n-3 PUFA eggs were consumed by nursing women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Eggs*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactation*
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Milk, Human / metabolism*
  • Phospholipids / metabolism
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Lipids
  • Phospholipids
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol