ISSN: 2376-127X



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Effect of Docosahexaenoic Acid Supplementation on Glucose Tolerance and Markers of Inflammation in Overweight/Obese Pregnant Women: A Double-blind, Randomized, Controlled Trial

Debra A Krummel, Alison Baker Kuhn, Alison M Cassin, Sarah L Davis, Lindsay E Walker, Jane C Khoury and Theresa L Powell

Background: Obese, pregnant women have exacerbated inflammation and insulin resistance that put them and their fetus at risk for adverse prenatal outcomes and future risk of cardiometabolic disease. Our objective was to determine the effects of 10 weeks of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation on glucose tolerance and markers of inflammation in healthy, overweight/obese, pregnant women. Method: Using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 60 women, with a pregravid body mass index ≥ 25 consumed placebo or DHA (800 mg DHA, algal oil) capsules for 10 weeks from 26 to 36 weeks gestation. Erythrocyte DHA (EDHA), plasma tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), and interleukin 6 (IL-6) were measured at 36 weeks. Homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), beta cell function (HOMA-B %), and insulin sensitivity (HOMA-S %) were calculated from glucose and insulin measurements during a 2-hour meal challenge at 36 weeks. Data were analyzed using SPSS (version 22) and SAS (version 9.3). Results: After supplementation, the mean EDHA increased by 25% and decreased by 14% in the DHA or placebo group, respectively (P<0.0005). None of the markers of glucose metabolism were significantly different between treatment groups. There was a significant time by group interaction for TNF-α (P=0.03, η2=0.08) with DHA lessening the rise seen in TNF-α between 26 and 36 weeks gestation. Conclusion: DHA supplementation from 26 to 36 weeks of gestation improved the inflammatory environment of overweight/obese pregnant women. Glucose tolerance homeostasis was not significantly different between groups.