UK Experts Back New Fish Oil Advice for Pregnant Women
Experts from a number of fields, from gynaecology to nutrition, have backed advice from Harvard published in the New Scientist that pregnant women should take pure fish oil supplements.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids found in oily fish are vital for the successful growth and development of a foetus, but recently doubts have been cast upon the safety of fresh fish for expectant mothers and supplements now look to be the purest safest source of omega 3 for pregnant women.
By taking a pure omega-3 supplement, mothers-to-be can ensure that their babies get all the omega 3 essential fatty acids they need for healthy development, without the toxin risks associated with fresh oily fish. Mercury is of specific concern, as high levels can damage a baby's developing nervous system, and already the British food standards agency recommends that pregnant women consume no more than 2 portions of oily fish a week.
Dr Sarah Brewer is one of several nutritional experts backing the advice: 'Taken at the usual doses fish oil supplements are safe to take during pregnancy and help avoid the risks associated with eating fish. Omega 3 essential fatty acids are important for the optimum development of a baby in the womb, especially for the formation of a healthy brain, eyes and nervous system.'
This advice was recently highlighted by the release of brand new study results from the Harvard School of Public Health, which investigated the levels of mercury found in the blood of pregnant women who consumed oily fish. Not only did those who ate more fish tend to carry higher levels of mercury, but women who gave birth prematurely were three times as likely to have a high mercury level - nearly double that of those who carried babies to term.
Following the discovery, the lead researcher of the Harvard study told the New Scientist that although fish is both a benefit and a potential source of hazard, until the risks become clearer, she recommends taking fish oil supplements instead.
When choosing a fish oil supplement, pregnant women are advised to avoid cod liver oil which contains vitamin A. Instead they should look for a pure omega 3 supplement from a reputable pharmaceutical-grade manufacturer that uses the most bioavailable 'triglyceride' form of Omega 3 and double distills the oil to ensure all toxins and pollutants, including mercury, are removed.
Experts backing the advice include Dr Sarah Brewer, Dr Chris Steele (resident family GP on This Morning), Dr Adam Carey (Gynaecologist and member of Royal College Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, Nutritional Expert on Celebrity Fit Club), Dr Rob Hicks (GP, Classic FM radio doctor), Dr Dawn Harper (GP specializing in preventative medicine, often appears on TV and has regular columns in various magazines) and Dr Ann Walker (Senior Lecturer in Nutrition at University of Reading)