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Pregnant women with obesity often experience high levels of inflammation. But a new study shows that omega-3s may reduce inflammation during pregnancy. Women with obesity who took omega-3 fatty acids during their pregnancies experienced a sixfold reduction in C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation.

The study involved 49 pregnant women with obesity. Half of the women took an omega-3 supplement providing 800 milligrams of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and 1,200 milligrams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) daily, starting before week 16 of their pregnancies and continuing until delivery. The other half took a placebo containing wheat germ oil. Researchers measured the women’s inflammatory biomarkers before and after the intervention.

They found that the women’s omega-3 levels increased markedly following the intervention, and their C-reactive protein levels decreased sixfold. Inflammatory gene expression in adipose and placental tissues also decreased.

These findings suggest that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in pregnant women with obesity, aligning with evidence demonstrating that omega-3 fatty acids modulate inflammation by inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and eicosanoids. Furthermore, byproducts of omega-3 metabolism called specialized pro-resolving mediators, or SPMs, help resolve inflammation. Learn more about SPMs in this clip featuring omega-3 expert Dr. Bill Harris.

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