The Importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids during Preconception

The Importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids during Preconception | Mr Vitamins
Whether you and your partner are just embarking on your conception journey or you are pregnant or breastfeeding, these times are your greatest opportunity to influence your future child’s health. Some of the most critical nutrients during this period for the health of you and your baby are the Omega-3 fatty acids - eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Pure EPA/DHA – is it possible?

The richest sources of dietary EPA and DHA are oily fish, however many of these fish pose a potential health risk during reproduction, as some fish contain high levels of environmental contaminants. These include heavy metals and pesticides such as dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethane and polychlorinated biphenyls (DDT and PCBs). To avoid potentially dangerous mercury levels pregnant women, nursing mothers, infants and young children are generally advised to limit fish intake. Fortunately, the purification of Omega-3 fish oils has greatly advanced in recent years and it is now possible to guarantee the purity of the oils. Heavy metals and pesticides can be significantly reduced, often below detectible limits, in highly purified fish oil supplements, providing a safe way to optimise your Omega-3 intake.

Preconception Benefits of Omega-3’s

The preconception period offers the opportunity to optimise the nutritional status and health of both parents, increasing the chances of conception. Supplementation of EPA and DHA during this time can help to reduce inflammation if present and this supports the chances of a healthy pregnancy. Dietary fats, including Omega-3’s support proper hormone production, this includes sex hormones. If various hormonal imbalances are present during preconception, this may reduce the chances of falling pregnant. Your complementary health practitioner will work with you to remedy these imbalances.

A healthy body leads to a healthy baby

Increased intake of Omega-3 fatty acids during the preconception period supports healthy follicular response and embryo morphology in women undergoing intracytoplasmic sperm injections as part of their fertility treatments.1 Omega-3’s support healthy blood flow, this is particularly important during pregnancy to support the health of the womb. Women who have suffered repeat miscarriages due to impaired uterine perfusion have been shown to benefit from supplementation of 4000 mg Omega-3 daily (795 mg DHA, 1190 mg EPA), which improved uterine blood flow.2 Omega-3 fatty acids also benefit male reproductive function and therefore support healthy conception. Increased DHA content in sperm membranes is associated with improved sperm motility, morphology and concentrations.3,4


Hammiche F, Vujkovic M, Wijburg W et al. Increased preconception omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake improves embryo morphology. Fertil Steril. 2011; 95(5): 1820-1823. 2 Lazzarin N, Vaquero E, Exacoustos C et al. Low-dose aspirin and omega-3 fatty acids improve uterine artery blood flow velocity in women with recurrent miscarriage due to impaired uterine perfusion. Fertil Steril. 2009; 92(1): 296-300. 3 Gulaya NM, Margitich VM, Govseeva NM et al. Phospholipid composition of human sperm and seminal plasma in relation to sperm fertility. Arch Androl. 2001; 46(3): 169-75. 4 Safarinejad MR, Hosseini SY, Dadkhah F et al. Relationship of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids with semen characteristics, and anti-oxidant status of seminal plasma: a comparison between fertile and infertile men. Clin Nutr. 2010; 29(1): 100-5.

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