The influence of DHA supplementation during pregnancy on language development across childhood: Follow-up of a randomised controlled trial

N. R. Gawlik, M. Makrides, L. Kettler, L. N. Yelland, S. Leemaqz, J. F. Gould

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Numerous randomised controlled trials have explored the effect of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation in early life on neurodevelopment, with some suggested positive effects on language. Australian women with a singleton pregnancy <21 weeks’ gestation were randomised to receive 800 mg DHA/day or a placebo until birth. A sample of 726 children (all n=96 born preterm, random sample of n=630 born at term) were invited to undergo assessments of language, academic, and language-based cognitive abilities at 1.5, four and seven years of age. No group differences were detected for any group comparison. Exploratory analyses for sex by treatment interactions revealed a possible adverse effect of DHA supplementation on the language of females at 1.5 years but no effects on outcomes at four or seven years. Taken as a whole, evidence of an effect of prenatal DHA supplementation on language abilities across childhood is negligible and could be a chance finding.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102207
Number of pages12
JournalProstaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids
Volume163
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • DHA
  • Language
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Pregnancy
  • Supplementation
  • Verbal abilities

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