N-3polyunsaturatedfattyacids (PUFAs), especially long-chain types such as docosahexaenoic acid, are important nutrients in pregnancy, but the relationship between n-3 PUFA levels and perinatal and postnatal depression remains controversial. This study examined the possible relationship between serumn-3 PUFA levels and psychologicaldistress among expectant mothers in earlypregnancy.
Data and specimen samples were obtained in a birth cohort study started at Toyama Regional Center in July 2012 as an adjunct study of the Japan Environment and Children's Study. Blood samples were collected at 9-14 weeks' gestation (75% of samples) or after 15 weeks (25%). Subjects with a Kessler PsychologicalDistress Scale score (K6) ⩾9 were assigned to the psychologicaldistress group (n=283). The control group (n=283) was matched for age, educational level and family income. Fatty acid composition was determined from serum samples by gas chromatography. Associations between fatty acid levels and incident psychologicaldistress were evaluated by logistic regression.
After adjusting for possible confounders, eicosapentaenoic acid showed an inverse association with risk of psychologicaldistress, with an odds ratio of 0.47 (95% confidence interval: 0.30, 0.73) for the highest tertile. This inverse association remained even after applying a higher cutoff score (K6 ⩾13) indicating severe psychologicaldistress (74 pairs).
We believe this is the first study to reveal the associations between serumn-3 PUFAs and risk of psychologicaldistress in earlypregnancy. Further research is required to verify the causality of these associations.
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