, Volume 27, Issue 11, pp 863–869

Effect of fish oil on the fatty acid composition of human milk and maternal and infant erythrocytes

  • Robin A. Henderson
  • Robert G. Jensen
  • Carol J. Lammi-Keefe
  • Ann M. Ferris
  • Kenneth R. Dardick


To examine the effect of fish oil supplementation on the fatty acid (FA) composition of human milk and maternal and infant erythrocytes, five lactating women were supplemented with 6 g of fish oil daily for 21d. Usual maternal diets contained 1,147 mg of total n−3 FA, with 120 mg from very long-chain (>C18) n−3 FA. Supplementation increased dietary levels to 3,092 mg of total n−3 FA and 2,006 mg of very long-chain n−3 FA. Milk samples were collected daily, prior to fish oil ingestion, and at 4-h intervals on days 1, 7, 14 and 21. Milk n−3 FA content increased within 8 h and reached steady state levels within one week. The n−6 fatty acid content decreased. Erythrocyte eicosapentaenoic acid content increased from 0.24% to 1.4% (P<0.01) in mothers and from 0.11% to 0.70% (P<0.05) in infants. Docosapentaenoic acid increased from 1.4% to 2.2% (P<0.05) in mothers and from 0.30% to 0.78% (P<0.01) in infants. There was no significant change in docosahexaenoic acid or n−6 fatty acid content. Maternal platelet aggregation responses were variable. No differences in milk or plasma tocopherol levels were noted.



adenosine phosphate


analysis of variance


docosahexaenoic acid


docosapentaenoic acid


eicosapentaenoic acid


fatty acid(s)


gas-liquid chromatography


high-pressure liquid chromatography


polyunsaturated/saturated ratio


recommended daily allowance


very long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid(s) (longer than C18)


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Dyerberg, J., Bang, H.O., and Aagard, O. (1980)Lancet 1, 199.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Budowski, P., and Crawford, M.A. (1985)Proc. Nutr. Soc. 44, 221–229.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sanders, T.A.B., and Younger, K.M. (1981)Br. J. Nutr. 45, 613–616.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sinclair, A.J. (1974)Lipids 10, 175–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Anderson, R.E., Benolken, R.M., Dudley, P.A., Landis, D.J., and Wheeler, T.G. (1974)Exp. Eye Res. 18, 205–213.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Benolken, R.M., Anderson, R.E., and Wheeler, T.G. (1973)Science, 182, 1253–1254.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Wheeler, T.G., and Benolken, R.M. (1975)Science 188, 1312–1314.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Neuringer, M., Connor, W.E., Lin, D.S., Barstad, L., and Luck, S. (1986)Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 83, 4021–4025.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Lamptey, M.S., and Walker, B.L. (1976)J. Nutr. 106, 86–93.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Yamamoto, N., Saitoh, M., Moriuchi, A., Nomura, M., and Okuyama, H. (1987)J. Lipid Res. 28, 144–151.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Holman, R.T., Johnson, S.B., and Hatch, T.F. (1982)Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 35, 617–623.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Bozian, R.C., and Moussavian, S.N. (1982)Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 36, 1253–1262.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Carlson, S.E., Carver, J.D., and House, S.G. (1986)J. Nutr. 116, 718–725.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hrboticky, N., MacKinnon, M.J., and Innis, S.M. (1990)Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 51, 173–182.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Leaf, A., and Weber, P.C. (1988)N. Engl. J. Med. 318, 548–557.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Salmon, J.A. (1987)n−3 News 2, 1–3.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Sanders, T.A.B., and Naismith, D.J. (1979)Br. J. Nutr. 41, 619–623.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Olegard, R., and Svennerholm, L. (1971)Acta Paediatr. Scand. 60, 505–511.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Putnam, J.C., Carlson, S.E., DeVoe, P.W., and Barness, L.A. (1982)Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 36, 106–114.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    DeLucchi, C., Pita, M.L., Faus, M.J., Periage, J.L., and Gil, A. (1988)Ann. Nutr. Metab. 32, 231–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Carlson, S.E., Rhodes, P.G., Rao, V.S., and Goldgar, D.E. (1987)Pediatr. Res. 21, 507–510.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Uauy, R. (1990)J. Pediatr. Gastroenterol. Nutr. 11, 296–302.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Vuori, E., Kiuru, K., Makinen, S.M., Vayrynen, P., Kara, R., and Kuirunen, P. (1982)Acta Paediatr. Scand. 71, 959–963.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Mellies, M.J., Ishikawa, T.T., Gartside, P.S., Burton, K., MacGee, J., Allen, K., Steiner, P.M., Brady, D., and Gleuck, C.J. (1979)Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 32, 299–303.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Finley, D.A., Lonnerdal, B., Dewey, K.G., and Grivetti, L.E. (1985)Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 41, 787–800.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Sanders, T.A.B., Ellis, F.R., and Dickerson, J.W.T. (1978)Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 31, 805–813.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Innis, S.M., and Kuhnlein, H.V. (1988)Early Hum. Dev. 18, 185–189.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Harris, W.S., Connor, W.E., and Lindsey, S. (1984)Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 40, 780–785.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Ruter, A., Jongbloed, A.W., vanGent, C.M., Danse, L.H.J.C., and Metz, S.H.M. (1978)Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 31, 2159–2166.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Hartog, J.H., Lamers, J.M.J., Montfuort, A., Becker, A.E., Klompe, M., Morse, H., Tencate, F.J., Vanderweef, L., Hulsman, W.C., Hugonholtz, P.G., and Verdouw, P.D. (1987)Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 46, 258–266.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Hu, M.L., Frankel, E.N., Leibovitz, B.E., and Tappel, A.L. (1989)J. Nutr. 119, 1574–1582.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Kinsella, J.E. (1987)Seafoods and Fish Oils in Human Health and Disease, Marcel Dekker, New York.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Stuff, J.E., Garza, C., O'Brien-Smith, E., Nichols, B.L., and Montandon, C.M. (1983)Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 37, 300–306.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Beaton, G.H., Milner, J., Corey, P., McGuire, V., Cousins, M., Stewart, E., deRamos, M., Hewitt, D., Gransbach, P.V., Kassim, N., and Little, J.A. (1979)Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 32, 2546–2554.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Posner, B.M., Borman, C.L., Morgan, J.L., Borden, W.S., and Ohls, J.C. (1982)Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 36, 546–553.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Pennington, J.A.T., and Church, H.N. (1985)Food Values of Portions Commonly Used, J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    United States Department of Agriculture (1976)Composition of Foods, Agricultural Hanbook No. 8, Agricultural Research Service, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Clark, R.M., Ferris, A.M., Fey, N., Brown, P.B., Hundreiser K.W., and Jensen, R.G. (1982)J. Pediatr. Gastroenterol. Nutr. 1, 311–315.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Lee, T.W. (1987)J. Assoc. Off. Anal. Chem. 70, 702–705.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Rose, H.G., and Oklander, M. (1965)J. Lipid. Res. 6, 428–431.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Driscoll, W.J., Neese, J.W., Bryant, C.C., and Bashor, M.M. (1982)J. Chromatog. 231, 439–444.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Lammi-Keefe, C.J. (1986)J. Pediatr. Gastroenterol. Nutr. 5, 934–937.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Frude, N. (1987)A Guide to SPSS/PC+, Springer-Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Norusis, M.J. (1988)SPSS Advanced Statistics V2.0, SPSS Inc., Chicago.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Fruend, R.J., Littell, R.C., and Spector, P.C. (1986)SAS Systems for Linear Models, 1986 Edition, SAS Institute, Inc., Cary.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Insull, W., Hirsch, J., James, T., and Ahrens, Jr., E.H. (1959)J. Clin. Invest. 38, 443–450.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Hachey, D.L., Thomas, M.R., Emkin, E.A., Garza, C., Brown-Booth, L., Adlof, R.O., and Klein, P.D. (1987)J. Lipid Res. 28, 1158–1192.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Guthrie, H.A., Picciano, M.F., and Sheehe, D. (1977)J. Pediatr. 90, 39–41.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Hall, B. (1979)Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 32, 304–312.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Harzer, G., Haug, M., Dieterich, I., and Gentner, P.R. (1983)Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 37, 612–621.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Lauber, E., and Reinhardt, M. (1979)Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 32, 1159–1173.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Boersma, E.R., Offringa, P.J., Muskiet, F.A.J., Chase, W.M., and Simmons, I.J. (1991)Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 53, 1197–1204.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    vonSchacky, C., and Weber, P.C. (1985)J. Clin. Invest. 76, 2446–2450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Roper, P., Drewinko, B., Hasler, D., Johnston, D., Hester, J., and Freireich, E.J. (1979)Am. J. Clin. Pathol. 263–268.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Nagakawa, Y., Orimo, H., Harasawa, M., Morita, I., Yashiro, K., and Murota, S. (1983)Atherosclerosis 47, 71–75.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Lammi-Keefe, C.J., Hammerschmidt, D.E., Weisdorf, D.J., and Jacob, H.S. (1982)Inflammation 3, 227–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Boberg, M., Vessby, B., and Selinus, I. (1986)Acta Med. Scand. 220, 153–160.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Murphy, S.P., Subar, A.F., and Block, G. (1990)Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 28, 756–760.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Witting, L.A., and Lee, L. (1975)Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 28, 571–576.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Kobayashi, H., Kanno, C., Yamauchi, K., and Tsugo, T. (1975)Biochim. Biophys. Acta 380, 282–290.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Jansson, L., Akesson, B., and Holmberg, L. (1981)Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 34, 8–13.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Chappell, J.E., Francis, T., and Clandinin, M.T. (1986)Nutr. Res. 6, 849–852.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Chow, C.K. (1975)Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 28, 756–760.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Meydani, M., Cohn, J.S., Macauley, J.B., McNamara, J.R., Blumberg, J.B., and Schaefer, E.J. (1989)J. Nutr. 119, 1252–1258.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Ciccoli, H.Y., Berti, D., and Bracci, R. (1981)Biol. Neonate 40, 187–195.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Knapp, H.R., Reilly, I.A.G., Allesandrini, P., and FitzGerald, G.A. (1986)N. Engl. J. Med. 310, 1209–1212.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© American Oil Chemists’ Society 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin A. Henderson
    • 2
  • Robert G. Jensen
    • 2
  • Carol J. Lammi-Keefe
    • 2
  • Ann M. Ferris
    • 2
  • Kenneth R. Dardick
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsJohns Hopkins HospitalBaltimore
  2. 2.Department of Nutritional Sciences, U-17University of ConnecticutStorrs
  3. 3.Mansfield Family PracticeMansfield Professional ParkStorrs

Personalised recommendations