Docosahexaenoic acid in maternal and neonatal plasma phospholipids and milk lipids of Taiwanese women in Kinmen: fatty acid composition of maternal blood, neonatal blood and breast milk
1 Department of Healthcare Management, Yuanpei University, Hsinchu, Taiwan
2 Department of Biotechnology, Yuanpei University, Hsinchu, Taiwan
3 Department of Surgery, Kinmen Hospital, Kinmen, Taiwan
4 Department of Gynecology, Kinmen Hospital, Kinmen, Taiwan
5 Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA
Lipids in Health and Disease 2013, 12:27 doi:10.1186/1476-511X-12-27Published: 6 March 2013
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) that is critically important for the structure, development and function of the retina and central nervous system (CNS), ultimately contributing to improved cognition. It is known that the DHA content of breast milk is positively correlated with maternal DHA intake. Since there is a lack of information about the DHA status of pregnant and lactating women in rural Taiwan. The aims of the present study were to: 1) assess the DHA status of mothers and babies in urban setting, and 2) determine the content of DHA in the milk of nursing mothers.
All pregnant women who attended the Obstetrics and Gynecology Outpatient Clinic of Kinmen Hospital on Kinmen Island in Taiwan between May 1 and May 30, 2011 were invited by research nurses to enroll in the study. The maternal blood sample was obtained on the day of their delivery. Cord blood was collected by the obstetrician following delivery. Participants were asked to visit the doctor forty-two days after the delivery, at which time a nurse collected breast milk on the day mothers were visiting the doctor for post-natal well-baby check-up.
The DHA percentages of maternal and neonatal plasma phospholipids were 5.16% and 6.36%, respectively, which are higher than values reported for most populations elsewhere in the world. The DHA percentage for the breast milk of Kinmen mothers was also high (0.98%) relation to international norms. The DHA proportions in maternal and neonatal plasma phospholipids were positively correlated (r = 0.46, p = 0.01).
We show that the DHA status of mothers and newborns on Kinmen Island is satisfactory, thereby providing an evidence-based argument for promoting breastfeeding in Taiwan.