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n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFA), from fish oil (FO), in rodents have been shown to reduce adipogenesis. Evidence of an effect on adipose tissue mass in humans is limited, and no studies have specifically aimed to elucidate this in infancy. To explore whether n-3 LCPUFA intake affects adipose tissue growth, we randomly allocated 154 healthy infants to daily supplementation with FO or sunflower oil (SO) from 9 to 18 mo of age and measured z-score changes in various anthropometric assessments of body size and skinfold thicknesses and plasma adipokine concentrations. Among the 133 completing infants, erythrocyte n-3 PUFA increased more in those receiving FO than in infants receiving SO [12.2 ± 0.7 (mean ± SE) versus 2.0 ± 0.4 fatty acid percentage (FA%), p <0.001] with a concomitant larger decrease in n-6 PUFA (-8.9 ± 0.7 versus -0.9 ± 0.6 FA%, p <0.001). We found no association between FO consumption relative to SO consumption and any of the anthropometric measures related to the size of the fat mass, but infants in the FO group had a lower skinfold ratio (triceps/subscapular) at 18 mo than those in SO group (p = 0.02). Our findings do not support the hypothesis that dietary n-3 LCPUFA is important for infant fat mass, but future studies testing this specifically are warranted. ABBREVIATIONS::
Original languageEnglish
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)368-374
StatePublished - 2011
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ID: 5744468