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Largest ever clinical study on omega-3 supplementation in pregnancy reveals dramatic reduction in early births


A randomised, multi-centred, double-blind placebo controlled trial of almost 2,400 pregnant women supplemented with Efalex® Mother & Baby has shown a:

· 50% reduction in very early pre-term delivery, i.e. less than 34 weeks

· 60% reduction in slow developing cognitive and language skills in infants

· 35% reduction in the incidence of low birth weight babies

· 35% reduction in post natal depression

Findings included a very significant reduction in the number of ‘slow developers’ among the infants born to omega-3 supplemented mothers – from 6.9% to 2.7%. Very early (earlier than 34 weeks) pre-term delivery cases were halved. Babies born pre-term are at increased risk of a permanent disability such as lung disease, cerebral palsy, blindness or deafness, with one in 10 affected and those born very early are at a significantly greater risk.

Results also found a 35% reduction in depression in the Efalex® Mother & Baby-treated group during the first 6 months postpartum. 9.74% of women in this group suffered post natal depression compared to 15-16% in the general population. Taking part in the trial and receiving the associated attention given to mother and infant also reduced the post natal depression rate by 23% in the placebo group (11.19%).

With one in 10 believed to suffer from post natal depression, trial findings suggest that by supplementing with fish oils during pregnancy, almost 28,000 UK mums could potentially avoid post natal depression annually.

Most interestingly the general health of the supplemented infants appeared to be significantly better, as evidenced by other significant measures including: reductions of 61% in infant serious adverse health events, 43% in infant admissions to intensive care and even a 66% in the number of foetal / infant deaths.

Dr Alex Richardson, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Evidence Based Intervention, University of Oxford, and co-founder of the UK charity Food and Behaviour Research, comments:

“Many previous studies have shown the importance of omega-3 essential fatty acids for the normal development and future health of the unborn baby, as well as the health of the mother. In this trial – the largest of its kind – highly significant reductions were found in many factors that can adversely affect children’s development and wellbeing over their lifetimes – including very pre-term delivery, low birth weight, and seriously delayed language and cognitive development. All expectant mums need to ensure a good dietary intake of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and seafood, and for any women who choose not to eat these foods, supplementation offers a safe and effective way to ensure an adequate supply.”

Efalex® Mother & Baby

Specifically designed to replenish essential fatty acids for expectant mothers, Efalex® Mother & Baby contains Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (LC-PUFAs), also known as essential fatty acids (EFAs), such as omega-3 and omega-6. Essential fatty acids are vital for good health, however they are not produced by the body and must be consumed through diet, with oily fish recognised as the best source. With 65% of the population falling short of the Government’s recommended daily intake, it is important to supplement diets to address this deficiency, especially during pregnancy.

Maintaining supplementation after birth and during breastfeeding will also assist in the mother’s recovery by topping up depleted nutrients as well as ensuring an adequate fatty acid intake to the baby through the breast milk. Research has shown that the mother can become nutritionally deficient during this time, in particular those women who have gone through successive pregnancies that are less than 2 to 3 years apart

Efalex® Mother & Baby is available from large Boots stores priced at around £8.99. Each 750g capsule contains high strength omega-3 fish oils, DHA, EPA, AA, omega-6 nutrients and Vitamin E, to help mother and baby stay healthy and happy.




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April