Fish Oil Supplement in Pregnancy Linked to Increase in Lean and Bone Mass

A study published in The BMJ concludes that fish oil supplements given in the later stages of pregnancy are associated with a higher body mass index in children in the first six years of life.

The article notes that prior studies in animals have shown that supplementing the diet with fish oil during pregnancy affects the development of fat cells. Human trials, however, have shown that pregnant women with a higher intake of fish oil give birth to higher birth weight infants, but the impact of these children in later life has been unclear.

A team of researchers based in Denmark and the United Kingdom examined the effect of fish oil supplements during the pregnancies of women on the growth and body composition of children later in life. They found in measuring height, weight, head and waist measurements 11 times from birth to age six that those given the fish oil supplements sustained higher body mass index during that period.

Researchers concluded that the body composition at age six in children given fish oil supplements was characterized by a proportional increase in lean, bone and fat mass suggesting a general growth stimulating effect.

The BMJ, previously known as the British Medical Journal, is one of the world’s oldest general medical journals. The study can be viewed online at