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Fish Oil During Pregnancy

by Vin Kutty, MS on August 12, 2010

My wife is pregnant. With twins!

We get excited and nervous when it’s time for our monthly doctor’s visit. We do absolutely everything we can to make sure our little bundles of joy are growing and healthy.

You probably know the feeling.

As a nutritionist who has been studying fish oil and Omega-3 for over 20 years, it’s time to practice what I’ve been preaching for so long.

Fish oil during pregnancy is not just safe but necessary

I used to have a very hard time convincing pregnant women that they should take fish oil or eat fish.

It was a tough sell.

Women had been scared to death about the dangers of mercury in fish.

In the 80’s, we started avoiding the sun.

And in the 90’s, we started avoiding seafood. Thank you, TV. But things are changing.

So is it safe?

Yes. Absolutely!

My pregnant wife takes 4 pharmaceutical grade fish oil pills every day. (See her dosage details below)

After working in the fish oil industry for almost 20 years, I know the risks. The risk is not fish oil. The risk comes from NOT taking fish oil. Not taking fish oil leads to poor development of your baby’s brain and eyes.

Pregnancy is not the time for discount fish oil. Pharmaceutical grade fish oil is definitely cleaner and purer than regular drug store fish oils. And the peace of mind is worth the added cost.

The Truth About Mercury and Fish Oil during Pregnancy

The truth is, fish meat has mercury. Fish oil does not. I’ll explain why in a second.

First, here are the fish to avoid: tilefish, shark, swordfish and king mackerel. These fish are large predatory fish that live for many years, which gives them a chance to accumulate mercury in their bodies. Canned tuna and Halibut can also be high in mercury.

Fish Oil During Pregnancy:
OmegaVia is NOT a prenatal supplement. OmegaVia is perfect for you, mommy. But for baby, we recommend that you take a high-DHA supplement.  We like Carlson Super DHA Gems.

What’s safe to eat during pregnancy? Sardine and wild pacific sockeye salmon are both excellent.

Fish oil does NOT contain mercury.

Even the cheap, low-quality fish oils have virtually no mercury. Why? Because of three reasons:

  1. Methyl mercury, the form of mercury found in fish is not soluble in oil. The mercury is separated from the fish when the oil is extracted.
  2. The molecular distillation process used to make fish oil ensures that any remaining mercury in the crude oil is permanently removed.
  3. Good quality fish oils are made from small fish that are low on the food chain. These fish don’t have toxic levels of mercury to begin with.

So even the cheap fish oils sold in Walmart do not have mercury in them.

ConsumerLab.com tested 57 brands of fish oil and found no mercury in any of them. A few brands flunked other quality tests but that was because they had low-quality, rancid oil.

Fish Oil During Pregnancy – Why is it Important?

Omega-3 in fish oil is very important in the development of your baby’s brain and eyes. More than half of your baby’s brain and eyes are made of DHA Omega-3.

Fish oil during pregnancy reduces risk of:

  1. Postpartum Depression
  2. Cerebral Palsy
  3. Behavioral Problems
  4. Gestational Diabetes
  5. Infant Allergy
  6. Preeclampsia
  7. Premature Birth

Fish oil during pregnancy improves:

  1. Baby’s Brain & Vision Development
  2. Birth Weight & Size
  3. Baby’s Immunity
  4. IQ
  5. Child’s Hand-eye Coordination in later years
  6. Child’s Verbal and Communication Skills

DHA can only come from food or supplements. There is no other way to get it.

Everyone needs DHA but the most important time to take fish oil is during pregnancy and during the first couple of years of your child’s life. Newborns’ brains grow at a rate of 1% per day for the first 90 days. That might not seem like a lot, but if adults’ brains were to grow at the same rate, our heads would balloon to the size of a water melon in 3 months.

But pregnant women were scared and avoiding anything fishy!

The American Psychiatric Association, worried that we were going to have a generation of unhealthy kids, sanctioned a full review of the risks and benefits. They gathered the top doctors in the field to issue a recommendation.

And their recommendation was: Omega-3 EPA and DHA is not only safe but it’s also necessary to take fish oil during pregnancy.

How much fish oil during pregnancy?

Ten years ago, scientists said 300 mg of DHA should be the minimum. This is why the DHA pills your OB/GYN office gave you contain 200 to 300 mg DHA.

But what scientists know about fish oil and pregnancy has changed in the last 10 years. Now, the latest consensus calls for a MINIMUM of 900 mg DHA per day. And that just covers the basic, bare-minimum needs for your baby and your body.

900 mg DHA is the new minimum.

Turns out 90% of pregnant women were not even getting 300 mg a day.

Then why does your prescription prenatal have only 300 mg DHA? Well, their dosage is based on old science. Drug companies and the FDA are very slow to react to new science.

Here’s what some of the popular prenatal supplements contain:

  • Expecta: 200 mg DHA per pill
  • Prenate: 300 mg DHA per pill
  • Prenexa: 300 mg DHA per pill
  • CitraNatal: 300 mg DHA per pill
  • Duet DHA EC: 295 mg DHA per pill
  • NatureMade Folic Acid with DHA: 50 mg DHA per pill

Not enough! Not even close!

NatureMade Folic Acid with DHA contains ONLY 50 mg! That’s crazy! There could be pregnant women taking this product and thinking that their DHA needs are covered. Not even close! Don’t be that woman!

The issue with Folic Acid

While I’m ranting about low DHA levels in prenatal supplements, let me rant about Folic Acid for a second. Pregnant women need this B vitamin because most of us don’t eat enough green leafy vegetables. We think taking Folic Acid will fix that problem. It won’t.

Almost 90% of Folic Acid is not absorbed. Green leafy vegetables have Folate. Not Folic Acid. Folic Acid is synthetic and not absorbed. Well, just enough of it is absorbed to prevent spinal health issues with babies.

So if you want to really be good, eat green leafy veggies (a lot!) and supplement with FOLATE. Look for brands that use Metafolin or Quatrefolic. You won’t find Folate in any of the samples your doctor gave you or in the other prenatals.

Back to DHA Omega-3…and here’s what my lovely wife took during her pregnancy:

  • Two OmegaVia pills = 2210 mg Omega-3 (520 mg DHA)
  • Two Carlsons Super DHA Gems = 1000 mg DHA

For a total of 1520 mg DHA per day. Mostly for the twins.

The above dosage also gives her 1760 mg EPA that her body desperately needs.  Without it, the risk of postpartum depression increases a lot. So it’s not just your baby who needs fish oil during pregnancy!

A good friend of mine, Dr. John Olson, practices medicine in Indianapolis. He asked me what my wife was taking for DHA. Besides the Calcium, K2, Vitamin D, Multi, Folic and Iron, I told him about her Omega-3 routine.

He said, “Not bad…but could be higher.”

Should you worry about Japanese earthquake and radiation? It is natural and appropriate to be concerned about your foods during pregnancy. In this case, concerns about fish and fish oil are unfounded. Here is an excellent recap to comfort you. Some Omega-3 supplements (like OmegaVia) are now routinely tested for radiation for your peace of mind.

Other nutrient deficiencies to watch out for:

  1. Vitamin D3. Get plenty of mid-day sunshine. If you’re pregnant during the winter, please take a supplement. Have your OB check your levels.
  2. Magnesium. Most Americans are deficient in this mineral. Even if you eat a very good diet, you are going to be low in this nutrient. Eat more veggies, nuts and seeds.
  3. Vitamin K2. Eat more European style hard cheeses like Jarlsberg, Gouda and Emmental. If you can’t find these cheeses, eat any real cheese. K2 is important for your baby’s facial, jaw, head and teeth development. Your baby’s teeth, even their adult teeth are developed by week 11 of pregnancy. In other words, it is very hard to make good looking children without enough K2. I’d rather you get your K2 from cheese.
  4. Iron. Half of all pregnant women are iron deficient. Iron deficiency causes a 5-fold increase in risk of delivering a child with autism spectrum disorder. Yes, 5-fold. Where do you get bio-available iron? Meats, especially liver. If you’re a vegetarian, you may want to rethink you stance. Or at least make sure that your prenatal supplement has the right amount and type of iron. My advice: go with liver, red meat and leafy green veggies.
  5. Choline. 90% of Americans do not get enough choline and it is crucial during pregnancy. I have no idea why DHA gets all the attention but choline does not.
  6. B-Vitamins. You already know you need Folate (Folic Acid). Folate is a type of B Vitamin. Did you know that not getting enough Folate and other B Vitamins during the three months BEFORE conception and a month after conception can increase risk of autism by 720%? Yes, 720%. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, please consider taking a really good B-complex long before you get pregnant. If you’re considering becoming both a vegan and mother at the same time, stop. Don’t do it! Women don’t bother taking prenatal vitamins BEFORE pregnancy, but that’s when you need it most! Only 30% of women take prenatal vitamins BEFORE pregnancy.

Your turn…

  • Are you taking a prenatal DHA? If so, how much?
  • Has you OB tested you for Vitamin D levels?
  • Did you take B-complex vitamins before pregnancy?
  • Do you take DHA in addition to what’s in your prenatal?

 


Author Vin Kutty is an nutritionist and frequently writes about taking fish oil during pregnancy About the Author: Vin Kutty is cofounder of Innovix Pharma. He is a nutritionist, author, and Omega-3 expert with over 20 years of experience. When coffee’d up and fully inspired, he shares Omega-3 info-nuggets on Facebook and Twitter.


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{ 127 comments… read them below or add one }

Rusti June 27, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Could you give more information as to why the only DHA Suppliment you like is Carlson Super DHA Gems? I don’t see them on the IFOS Consumer Report but I assume they meet the 60% concentration requirement?

Reply

Omegavia June 28, 2012 at 8:50 am

Hi Rusti – at the time that blog was written (a few years ago), Carlsons Super DHA Gems was one of the few products out there that contained enough DHA per pill. I was thinking about the needs of my wife who was pregnant with twins. Now, I am sure there are several other manufacturers who have high-DHA formulas, including Nordic Naturals. Yes, the Carlsons products is about 60% pure. I still recommend 2 of those pills a day for all pregnant women.
– Vin Kutty

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fran October 1, 2012 at 2:41 am

I was taking 900mg of brainstrong share and switched to carlson 500mg a day. Is that enough?

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Vin Kutty October 1, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Hi Fran – I assume you were taking Brainstrong Prenatal. It comes in a 2-pill pack. The DHA pill has 350 mg of DHA. That’s better than most, but you’ll need to add at least another 500 mg of DHA in your third trimester. If you’re not in your third trimester, you’re still fine, but once you’re in your 7-9 month, you’ll want to target 1000 mg DHA per day. I have no idea why none of the prenatals come close to this. Talk to your doctor about this and also taking an extra Vitamin D. The 800 IU in the brainstrong pill in no where near enough.
– Vin Kutty

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Leslie December 1, 2012 at 3:18 pm

I’ve suffered on and off throughout my life with depression (I’m 29). I was on Zoloft for about 6 years and earlier in the year was able to finally get off (under doc’s supervision). Now I’m in my first trimester and really fighting with depression again. I DON’T want to go back on a prescription for depression, especially through the pregnancy. Would increasing my Omega3’s help? The prenatal I take has 200mg of DHA and 14mg of EPA. What would you recommend? I’m always afraid of taking “too much”…

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Vin Kutty December 3, 2012 at 12:13 am

Hi Leslie – yes, increasing your Omega-3 intake will help both you and your baby. However, the bigger issue may be your diet. I don’t know what you eat, but may I suggest you eliminate sugar, soda, wheat, processed or packaged foods and refined vegetable oils? Replace with a whole foods diet full of fresh, organic vegetables, fruits, pasture eggs, seafood (yes, seafood!), grass-fed meats and nuts. Be generous with olive oil, pasture butter and coconut oil. Look into ‘Paleo’ diet. It is very healthy and it’s how my wife during her pregnancy (still does.) It’s not too late – you have two more trimesters to go. Look into Healthy Baby Code by Chris Kresser http://healthybabycode.com/signup

The prenatal is not enough. You need 500 mg of DHA per day. Once you’re in your third trimester, aim for 1000 mg DHA. Anyone with mood related health concerns should get at least 1000 mg of EPA. Get Nordic Natural DHA or Carlsons DHA gems. See this blog as well: http://www.omegavia.com/supplements-for-depression-anxiety/

– Vin Kutty

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Nhikki December 1, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Thank you for the helpful information. I stumbled across this article because I was trying to do research to determine if I could somehow prevent or even lessen the symptoms of pre-eclampsia during pregnancy. (I had it with my first and second child…not a fun experience)

I completely understand where you are coming from in terms of pregnant women needing to take more DHA during pregnancy. However, I am slightly confused on the dosages of EPA in conjunction with DHA. Everything I read pinpoints DHA when referencing dosages. So I guess my question is, how many mg of EPA should I be taking for every “x” mg of DHA? I get confused trying to find a good high potency supplement because some have more DHA than EPA and some have more EPA than DHA. I am not sure what pregnant women should be focusing more on. I hope you understand my confusion.

Also, I am only 8 weeks pregnant as of today. Did your wife take the same dosage during her entire pregnancy? Or did she adjust it according to her trimester?

Lastly, I have spoken to my OB about it and tried to have her better clarify this for me. She wasn’t much help and just told me to take 2 Expecta a day.

Thanks so much and congrats on your twins!

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Vin Kutty December 3, 2012 at 12:23 am

Hi Nhikki – I understand your confusion. Everyone focuses on DHA during pregnancy. And they should! But that does not mean that you, mom, don’t need EPA! If you are not predisposed to depression, then equal parts EPA and DHA are fine – take 500 mg of each now and increase to 1000 mg of each during third trimester. But if you think you may be prone to postpartum depression, then get some excess EPA above and beyond the DHA – same DHA requirements but aim for 2000 mg of EPA during third trimester.

My wife was taking 2000 mg total Omega-3 per day during the first couple of months. Then she doubled it, of which about half was DHA. She also doubled Vitamin D to 5000 IU and Magnesium too. Even that, I suspect, may have been enough during the third trimester. Look into magnesium and preeclampsia and talk to your OB about it.
– Vin Kutty

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Cristina January 5, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Hi I’m 37 weks pregnant and I take I teaspoonful of Carlson fish oil omega 3’s dha and EPA. Omega-3 fatty acids 1600 mg. EPA 800 mg . Dha 500 mg and other -3 fatty Acids 3oo mg. I need to see if this product is good for me because before I got pregnant I had depression. I take prenatal neevo with dha and I want to breast feed. Gracias por su respuesta.

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Vin Kutty January 6, 2013 at 12:59 am

Hola Cristina – ¡felicidades! Sí, el producto que está tomando es bueno. Me alegra saber que usted está tomando Omega-3. Entre hoy y el nacimiento de su bebé, tomar dos cucharaditas al día y continuará siempre y cuando su periodo de lactancia.

Congratulations! Yes, the product you are taking is good. I am glad to hear that you are taking Omega-3. Between now and your baby’s birth, take two teaspoons per day and continue as long as your are breast feeding.

– Vin Kutty

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Sarah January 9, 2013 at 10:27 pm

Hi. I’m 21 weeks pregnant. I started taking Blackmores omega daily concentrated fish oil one a day dose at the beginning of my second trimester. It says it contains concentrated omega-3 triglycerides-fish 1.034g containing omega-3 marine triglycerides 600mg as: EPA 351.7mg and DHA 248.3mg

After reading your blog I started taking 3 of these capsules a day. Is this enough or too much of this brand and is blackmores good? I live in Australia and blackmores products are ready available in most supermarkets.

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Vin Kutty January 10, 2013 at 1:34 am

Hi Sarah – I’m familiar with Blackmores. They are fine. Keep taking it.
– Vin Kutty

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Sarah January 10, 2013 at 12:40 am

Hi again. I just went an bought Ethical Nutrients Hi Strength liquid fish oil with concentrated omega-3 triglycerides 4.6g EPA 1.9g DHA 927mg Plus it says it undergoes molecular distillation. Is this better than the Blackmores I was taking?

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Vin Kutty January 10, 2013 at 1:36 am

Hi again, Sarah – keep taking the Blackmores. No need to change. You’ve got Omega-3 covered. Now talk to a local nutritionist about how to improve other aspects of your diet.

– Vin Kutty

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Sarah January 10, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Thanks. Just wondering now that I have the stronger liquid would it be ok to switch to that when I finish the blackmores? Or is it too strong?

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Vin Kutty January 11, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Hi Sarah – the liquid is not too strong. You’re fine taking it. Don’t over think this – you’re doing the right thing.

– Vin Kutty

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Shanaz February 10, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Hello-
I started taking Vital Health Omega 3 since the moment I discovered I was pregnant. I ran out a little over a month ago. I am now 28 weeks pregnant and recently purchased Artic Pure Omega 3 fish oil.
It has:
Fish oil concentrate- 1.375 g
EPA- 687 mg
DHA- 275 mg
Other omega 3 fatty acids- 163 mg

Is this good? Too little?
**I am pregnant with a singleton and predisposed to severe depression.
I was diagnosed when I was 10 years old.

Thank you!

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Vin Kutty February 11, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Shanaz – I’d recommend that you go up to 2 pills per day. Or better yet, 3 per day. Given your history, it may not address the depression, but you can rule out EPA deficiency.

– Vin Kutty

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Wendy February 25, 2013 at 7:33 am

Hi,
Many thanks for this, I found this page and your posts very informative.
My son started taking fish oils when he was 3 1/2 for Apraxia and he had a really big speech surge straight after, so I have seen the wonders of fish oils!

I will be taking your advice on dosages, but I was wondering about the Vitamin D and Magnesium that you suggested – are they needed, and what dosage? I’m Type 1 diabetic as well.

I was also wandering if you gave your twins fish oil after they were born?

Many thanks!

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Vin Kutty February 25, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Hi Wendy – is the Vitamin D + Magnesium for you or for your son? Adults do best with 2000 to 4000 IU of D3 per day and about 400 mg of Magnesium. I strongly urge that you look into a paleo-style diet for the both of you. No sugar, grains or vegetable oils. Lots of olive oils, butter, vegetables, meats, fruits and nuts. Eggs if not allergic.

Thanks for asking about the twins – they are almost 3. We tried giving them some Nordic Naturals liquid fish oil when they were newborns. Ugh! Stunk up the house and they refused milk. Fortunately, I was able to find an alternative – powdered and encapsulated Omega-3 product (not yet on the market everywhere) and the kids were fine with it. So that’s what they’ve been eating for the last 3 years. I add liquid Vitamin D, Omega-3 and a probiotic called Prescript-Assist onto their pureed foods. Supplementing is getting harder because they are feeding themselves solid foods.

– Vin Kutty

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Wendy February 26, 2013 at 4:00 am

Many thanks.
I have just had IVF and it has been successful, so the mag and Vit D are for me.
We are on Dr Bernsteins diet for Type 1’s which is very similar to the Paleo diet. As you say, no sugar, wheat etc. We are big users of coconut oil!

I think I will look into a liquid vitamin d for my 5yr old son. We add the Nordic Naturals lemon flavour to my sons chocolate yogurt every day, don’t ask me why but he loves it!

Thank you so much for replying to me,
Wendy

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Vin Kutty February 26, 2013 at 8:05 pm

That’s great news, Wendy! Congratulations! Happy to hear that you’re already on a Paleo-like diet. It will solve most (but not all) health issues. If your son likes the Nordic Natural oil, then don’t change a thing!

– Vin Kutty

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Saima Shameem February 27, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Hi Vin,
I am taking 2000mg fish oil a day (2 capsules a day) during my pregnancy. With my daughter I took 3 capsules. My Dr. said to take DHA 300mg instead, but I’m still taking the fish oil since it was fine with my first pregnancy and it’s great for mommy and baby!

Thanks,
Saima

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Vin Kutty March 1, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Hi Saima – take the 2 fish oil capsules AND take the DHA 300 mg in addition. You can stop the DHA after you’re done with breast feeding.

– Vin Kutty

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olive March 2, 2013 at 2:56 am

hello! I was wondering if the 1520, 1760 dosage you listed was what your wife took at the beginning of her pregnancy? I am in my first trimester and I have anxiety issues, would that does be okay for me to take this early on? could too much be harmful? thank you!

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Vin Kutty March 2, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Hi Olive – my wife took two OmegaVia and two Carlsons Super DHA gems per day. That provided 1520 mg of DHA per day and 1760 mg of EPA as well. You may not need that much in the first trimester. But I don’t think it would be harmful. I would not make any drastic changes to your regimen without talking to your OB. But you may want to read this: http://www.omegavia.com/supplements-for-depression-anxiety/

– Vin Kutty

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olive March 2, 2013 at 3:01 am

I also heard fish oil could act as a blood thinner, could it be dangerous in high doses around time of delivery? thank you so much for this article! very informative

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Vin Kutty March 2, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Hi Olive – fish oil can act as a blood thinner at extremely high doses. So you should talk to your doctor and see what’s right for you. If you are concerned, you can always back off to a lower dose a few weeks before delivery, but this is not the best for the baby because their brain is developing extremely rapidly at this stage and backing off on DHA is not a good idea. Again – check with your OB.

– Vin Kutty

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Bob January 6, 2014 at 5:00 pm

When you say extremely high doses, how much fish oil do you mean?

I’ve seen cod fish liver oil recommended is amounts 5ml – 10ml (1 – 2 tsp). This comes out to about 5 – 10 grams of fish oil (which comes to 5 – 10 of the large fish oil capsules).

http://www.westonaprice.org/cod-liver-oil/cod-liver-oil-basics
And actually, Weston A. Price recommends 2 – 4 teaspoons of cod fish liver oil based on the vitamin content of the specific oil you have. That makes his recommendation max out at 20 ml (or 20 capsules) of fish oils a day.

This is where I get concerned and would like your opinion of what you consider a bad amount of fish oils. What is too much? What is it that thins the blood, the fish oils in general, or is it specifically the EPA/DHA?

My main concern is based on medical opinions that substances like Aspirin and ibuprofen are not safe during pregnancy. They can cause major birth defects. As they have blood thinning properties just like fish oils, wouldn’t we be concerned about fish oils causing the same birth defects?

Thanks!

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Vin Kutty January 6, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Hi Bob – big picture first: both Omega-3 and Omega-6 should be consumed in small quantities.

If you’ve been reading Weston Price website, I will assume you know what a disaster we have with excess Omega-6 consumption. Excess Omega-3 consumption is very rare. Some Crossfit gyms still recommend 10,000 mg of Omega-3 or more per day. I think this is way too much on a daily basis.

If your Omega-6 consumption is under control (virtually impossible without cooking all your meals at home with coconut oil and beef tallow and without avoiding nuts) you should be able to function quite well on about 1000 mg of Omega-3.

Most people on Standard American Diet will need about 2,000 mg of Omega-3. If you have some issues with triglycerides, you may need 3,000 to 4,000 mg Omega-3 per day. That’s the US Govt cut off for safe daily levels. EU level is at 5,000 mg.

My opinion is that if you are taking more than 4,000 mg of Omega-3 per day, the risk/benefit tilt is starting to go the wrong way. The risk I’m talking about is not blood thinning – that’s been debunked for the doses I’m talking about. The risk I’m talking about is oxidative stress and increased oxidized LDL. The vast majority of your oxidative stress probably comes from excess Omega-6…but why contribute to it by taking more Omega-3 than necessary?

Note that I’m talking about Omega-3 and not fish oil or cod liver oil – when it comes to fish oil, I care about the Omega-3 in fish oil and the concentration of the oil determines how much Omega-3 is in it. Cod liver oil is usually very weak in Omega-3, but it has a good dose of Vitamin D and A, which most people are deficient in. I consider cod liver oil a great source of pre-formed Vitamin A than a great source of Omega-3. If you want to take cod liver oil, go for 1 teaspoon a day. A lot of people like Fermented Cod Liver Oil – it’s not my preference, but others like it.

Birth defects from aspirin and/or ibuprofen are different issues. These are not essential nutrients for fetal development! Omega-3 is! Especially DHA. Do not conflate these issues because Omega-3 consumption of 12,000 mg per day in Greenlanders was associated with nose bleeds. I would not take aspirin or ibuprofen indiscriminately if I were a pregnant woman but then pregnant women should not be taking 12,000 mg of Omega-3 per day either.

Hope this clears things up a bit.

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Petrah May 9, 2013 at 9:59 pm

hi i’m in the middle of my second trimester and i’ve been taking 1 capsule of the SUNDOWN NATURALS FISH OIL 1000mg(naturally contains 300mg omega-3 is this brand good? and is tat enough?

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Vin Kutty May 11, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Hi Petrah – no harm done, but I suggest you switch to Carlsons Super DHA gems: http://www.carlsonlabs.com/p-214-super-dha-gems.aspx and start taking two of those per day.

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Carolyn June 11, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Hi there!!

Thank you for your article. Super informative. I am currently 20 weeks pregnant and I’ve been taking carlsons fish oil since I found out I was pregnant. But I see that you actually recommend takings two of the 1000 mg. I’m taking one is this okay or should I keep taking my prenatals and just one. I take vitafol one prenatal pills.

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Vin Kutty June 12, 2013 at 6:42 am

Hi Carolyn – congratulations! :-)

Yes, as you get closer to your third trimester, you need a lot more Omega-3. Two per day, even three, is not too much as your pregnancy progresses. If you’re not taking enough for both of you, the baby will preferentially get the Omega-3 stored in your body and that’s not good for your health. You may want to think about Carlsons DHA gems.

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Carolyn June 19, 2013 at 1:28 am

Thank you so much. I’m currently taking carlson’s super DHA GEMS. I can start taking 2-3 of these right?

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Vin Kutty June 22, 2013 at 4:12 am

Yes – you may take 2 to 3 of these.

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Carolyn June 22, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Thank you vin!

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Landy August 23, 2013 at 3:43 pm

I bumped into your article by chance and I have few questions that I hope you can help to answer. Im taking Wythe Materna Pretanal Vitamins and just bought 2 bottles of Blackmores Pretanal Vits. When I look at the ingredients of these 2 suplements, I was shocked by the difference in every ingredient amount. Like Materna with 3mg Vit B1, tvit A (beta carotene) 1500IU, Vit A (acetate) 1500 IU while Blackmores has no Vit A mentioned on d ingredient list and only 500ug Vit B1. Im so confused which one is good for me to take (Im 9 weeks pregnant).

Im also taking 2 fish oil capsule 600mg/day, 400mg DHA

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Vin Kutty August 23, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Hi Landy – assuming you are eating a good diet (mostly vegetables, meats, seafood, fruits, nuts and eggs) then it does not matter much if the prenatal formulas are a bit different. You cannot out-supplement a bad diet. If there is one time in your life when you should be eating a healthy diet, it is now. Reduce sugar and grain consumption as much as you can. Your Omega-3 consumption is fine for now. Double it during the third trimester.

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Maima September 1, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Hi,
I am 10 weeks pregnant and have been taking Sundowns Natural fish oil even before my pregnancy. And today I read some articles about Sundown flunking some PCB test, although they specifically claim they eliminate PCB. Did I harm my baby? I am very worried :-(

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Vin Kutty September 2, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Hi Maima – I highly doubt you’ve done much harm. Still, if you want products that have passed PCB tests, go to here: http://www.ifosprogram.com/consumer-reports.aspx to choose. You will see a big list of fish oil products that have passed strict third-party testing for PCBs and several other environmental contaminants.

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Maima September 2, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Thanks a lot!
I see you have advised this in a previous post: http://www.carlsonlabs.com/p-214-super-dha-gems.aspx

But I don’t see Carlson on the list you just provided. Shall I still go with Carlson?

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Vin Kutty September 2, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Hi Maima – yes, Carlsons is fine, but the reason I gave you that list was because your question was specific to environmental contaminants.

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Maima September 2, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Thanks!
I checked out Carlsons and it has 10 IU of vitamin E as well. My prenatal has 35 IU of vitamin E too, so I think it’ll be an overdose if I take both. Is there any other option you suggest without vitamin E?

Jay September 3, 2013 at 3:31 am

Hi Vin,
Congratulations on the twins. It is now three years on….can you please tell me how the fish oil dosage your wife took during pregnancy has benefited the twins during their growing up?
I have 3 year old twin girls and was taking 600mg DHA of xtendlife omega 3/DHA fish oil daily in the last trimester which is nowhere near as much as your wife’s dosage. Now I’m 12 weeks pregnant with number three and researching fish oil again. My OB/GYN advised xtendlife was too high dosage for pregnancy and I fear taking 600mg DHA for only one baby. Have you come across this brand and do you have any views on it?
Many thanks for your time & happy birthday to your twins!

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Vin Kutty September 3, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Hi Jay – the twins are 3 and doing very well – thank you! They are bright, curious, intelligent, active, playful, naughty and thoroughly exhausting. We collapse at the end of the day after we put them to bed. You might relate. Was it the fish oil that made them clever? Probably not, but I’m sure it helped. My wife was under my nutritional care during pregnancy and the kids eat the best diet (meats, veggies, fruits, eggs) possible – no sugary drink, no wheat and nothing processed. I’ve also been particular about colonizing their little guts with healthy probiotic bacteria with a variety of fermented foods. Not wanting to be completely contrary to social norms, we gave them chocolate cake for the first time during their 1st birthday and again on their second…they both promptly spat it out in disgust at both times. I was so proud!

Xtendlife is a perfectly good product. However, that’s not my concern. My concern is that your OB/GYN is fearful of 600 mg of DHA. Granted that’s way more than you need if you’re not pregnant and it’s more than you need during the first and second trimester, it’s somewhere between appropriate or less than optimal during the last couple of months of pregnancy, at least according to the latest evidence. If there is ever a time to be generous with DHA, it is during pregnancy or immediately following a stroke or brain trauma. Having said that, I’m not responsible for delivering a healthy baby – your OB is. So I’d listen to him/her. Still…I’m a bit disturbed because your OB is not basing this decision on published data.

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Maima September 3, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Thank you so much! Really, really appreciate your advice. I’ll go with Carlson then.

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Bridget October 20, 2013 at 6:56 am

I’m currently trying to conceive, and I want to make sure I am getting enough of the right nutrients to maximize my chances at a healthy baby, but I am allergic to fish oil pills (I’ve tried 3 brands under my doctors supervision), but am okay taking algal oil pills. Unfortunately, I’m having issues finding a non-fish based pill with a significant amount of EPA. My current pills have only DHA listed on the label. Can you recommend a supplement for me to take?

Thanks!

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Vin Kutty October 20, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Hi Bridget – try Ovega3. It has both EPA and DHA. Take 3-4 a day. Also I highly recommend you look into Chris Kresser’s Healthy Baby Code. Good luck and keep us posted if you have any good news.

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Kristin November 3, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Thank you for this great information. I am 6 weeks pregnant and suffer from anxiety. I am also using crinone which has increased my anxiety from moderate to severe and causing depression. Determined to battle these symptoms I have been learning a lot about DHA/EPA. I just ordered Nordic Naturals DHA but I was wondering if I need to take additional fish oil like your wife did. Can you tell me what the benefits are of taking the extra fish oil? Also, do you think the increased EPA can help with the increasing symptoms I am experiencing from crinone?
Thank you again for posting this valuable information!!

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Vin Kutty November 4, 2013 at 12:25 am

Hi Kristin – first, congratulations on the pregnancy! Most pregnant women under-dose Omega-3 during pregnancy. I’d suggest 1000 mg of Omega-3 for now and increasing to 2000 mg for second and third trimesters. EPA can help with anxiety and depression more than DHA can. So yes, I do think you need more of both, EPA and DHA. I have no idea what your diet or lifestyle is, but I’m going to guess that your diet is not good. You may want to read this: http://www.omegavia.com/supplements-for-depression-anxiety/ But since you’re pregnant, I would not experiment with all kinds of supplements. But I highly recommend that you get your Omegas, Vitamin D and Magnesium taken care of. They are all extremely safe – but just to be sure, run everything past your OB. No supplement can make up for a bad diet – you have to assume that your diet is inadequate and take steps to improve it. The good thing is that you are only 6 weeks into it and can make some changes quickly. Download Chris Kresser’s Healthy Baby Code immediately. It is very, very helpful.

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Kristin November 4, 2013 at 1:27 am

Thank you very much for the reply . My diet is actually very good . I eat mostly organic fruits and vegetables, lean meats, yogurts and nuts . I have been in acupuncture and seeing a nutritionist for the last 3 years and have avoided sugar for many years . I have had anxiety for years but has been very mild until I was started on hormones . I have always been deficient in dha/ epa because I am not a big fish eater . I will definitely speak with my doctor before increasing my supplements. I found this information very helpful & will definitely download the healthy baby code as well . Thank you !

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Vin Kutty November 4, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Hi Kristin – glad to hear that you are on a good dietary path. There is absolutely no supplement that can make up for a bad diet. So you’re OK in that regard. Although, ‘lean meats’ is a term that hints at fat-phobia. I suggest you read these two articles: http://www.businessinsider.com/13-nutrition-lies-that-made-the-world-sick-and-fat-2013-10?op=1 and also this: http://primaldocs.com/opinion/saturated-fat-enemy/

I don’t see eggs in your list of things you consume. May be you eat them. I consider whole eggs from pastured chickens an unofficial food group – that’s how important they are. I suggest you eat at least 2 per day. I also highly recommend that you get Jigsaw Health magnesium. Most people are magnesium deficient and that can make you anxious. Magnesium is one of those minerals that even if you are eating a perfect diet, you will not get enough of because of soil depletion. Fruits and veggies just dont have as much as they used to. It also can help prevent preeclampsia during pregnancy.

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Aaron November 4, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Hello,

We are currently using OmegaVia Pharma-Grade Fish Oil. I wanted to know more about DHA supplementation during pregnancy. Which product(s) would you recommend? Are there high quality, third-party lab tested products out there as good as OmegaVia? Most Omega 3 products do not contain enough DHA and there are a lot of products out there. It’s difficult to find a trusted quality product.

Thanks.

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Vin Kutty November 4, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Hi Aaron – I’d go with Nordic Naturals DHA http://www.nordicnaturals.com/en/Products/Product_Details/98/?ProdID=1434 or Carlsons http://www.vitacost.com/carlson-super-dha-gems

Nordic has a better reputation and image for fish oils…but Carlsons can be as good. Carlsons is a better value.

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carolyn November 4, 2013 at 6:05 pm

I wrote you back when I was pregnant with my baby well I had a healthy beautiful boy. I’m currently taking carlson’s super DHA GEMS. I am breastfeeding now. Should I continue to take three or switch back to one?

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Vin Kutty November 4, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Hi Carolyn – congratulations! Healthy and beautiful are wonderful things to be thankful for…

Yes, if you are breastfeeding, then definitely stay on 3 or 4 per day. This is a really, really critical time in his brain development and his brain is a DHA sponge. Also, make sure you are eating a lot of eggs – tons of good brain-essential nutrients in eggs that you will pass on to your boy.

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PIXE December 4, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Since OmegaVia is an ethyl ester just like Lovaza but has more EPA-EE and DHA-EE per capsule, can you discuss the warning labels on Lovaza that state “LOVAZA should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit to the patient justifies the potential risk to the fetus.” Teva, which is generic Lovaza sold in the UK has this warning on their product: “The potential risk for humans is unknown and
therefore Omega 3-acid-ethyl esters should not be used during pregnancy unless clearly necessary.” For lactating women, the label states: “Omega
3-acid-ethyl esters should not be used during lactation.”
Natural triacyl-sn-glycerol (TAG) based real fish oil dietary supplements don’t carry these warnings because they are natural fat just like a normal meal. In addition, the ethyl esters produce ethanol as a metabolite. Your OmegaVia ethyl ester supplies 780 mg of EPA free fatty acid that comes from 852 mg EPA-EE and supplies 120 mg DHA free fatty acid that comes from 130 mg DHA-EE. Just from these two ethyl esters, your product will generate a total of 136 mg ethanol per capsule which is more than the beneficial amount of DHA in your product.
Again, you have high purity products but there should be caution when advising pregnant and nursing women on the use of omega-3 ethyl esters.
Thanks,
Pixe

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Vin Kutty December 5, 2013 at 2:19 pm

PIXE – Pharmaceutical drugs have extensive legal disclaimers for several reasons. I cannot comment on warning statements issued by other products or drugs.

Neither OmegaVia nor EPA 500 are ideal for pregnancy or nursing, because the former contains low levels of DHA and the latter has no DHA. The only warning we chose to print on our label about this is for EPA 500 and as follows: If pregnant or nursing, you need additional DHA. Talk to your doctor.

You clearly have a bias against EE oils and toward TG oils. Many do. That’s OK – our product pages clearly and openly state that OmegaVia and EPA 500 are ethyl esters. No additional disclosure needed.

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Vict0ry January 7, 2014 at 7:20 pm

please am taking omega 3 fish oil TEVA 500mg 3times a day.am 28 weeks now.but i discovered that is not indicated in pregnancy from the leaflet except if prescribed by the doctor.please help me because i dont know if i should continue or stop because this is the only product i can find in my area.I also read online that pregnant women should not take omega 3 that contains vit A because it is harmful for baby.please help me ,am confused.

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Vin Kutty January 7, 2014 at 11:47 pm

Hi VictOry – the product you mention is not available in the US, so I am unfamiliar with it. It is always a good idea to check with your doctor on whether a supplement is OK. Ideally, you should be taking 500 mg to 1000 mg of DHA Omega-3. The last two months of pregnancy and the few months after pregnancy and during breast feeding is the most critical time to take DHA. Also make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D, as it is difficult to get from the sun in the winter.

Vitamin A is essential. Without Vitamin A, humans will simply get sick and die. Get most of your Vitamin A from animal products – butter, cream, eggs, liver etc. Avoid these foods during pregnancy and you may be putting your child’s health at risk.
I really don’t understand why people are afraid of Vitamin A.

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Aaron January 15, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Hi Vin,

I am an avid reader of your blog and from everything I’ve read not all supplements are created equal. I am having a hard time finding a single multivitamin supplement that meets the prenatal needs. As you know almost all of them contain folic acid and not folate. It would get outrageously expensive and time consuming to buy each individual vitamin and take 20 pills a day. Are there any good prenatal vitamins out there there that contain all the vitamins an expectant mother would need + the folate in a single dosage?

Or are we okay just going with the folic acid and not bother with the folate in order to keep things simple?

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Vin Kutty January 15, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Hi Aaron – you’re absolutely right. I can’t name a single prenatal multi that I think stand out as the best. Most prenatal multis still contain folic acid instead of folate. This is unfortunate.

In the absence of folate, folic acid will suffice. But may be you won’t need 20 pills a day…are you OK with 5 or 6? May be you start with something like this: http://www.drbvitamins.com/products/best_multiple_90vc and on top of it, add Omega-3, magnesium, Vit D. That’s 5 or 6 pills a day.

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Aaron January 16, 2014 at 3:23 am

Hello again,

Thanks for the reply. As always you provide great feedback, excellent blogs too. Keep up the great work.

It would seem the link you proved should suffice. I have never heard of this brand, is it reputable? I also noticed it doesn’t have any iron. Speaking of deficiencies do you know why most prescription prenatals lack vitamin A? Our OB/GYN gave us a few prescription prenatal samples and they all lack vitamin A. Since Dr’s Best has Vit A should I be worried? People seem to be scared of Vit A for some reason, I am wondering if there are toxic side affects on the fetus? Also, what are your thought about the excess B vitamins in Dr’s Best? Some of them go as high as 4000% of RDA. Normally I wouldn’t worry too much as they are waster soluble but am not sure how it would affect our unborn child?

Thank again for all the great information.

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Vin Kutty January 16, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Hi Aaron – thank you.

Most prenatals lack Vitamin A because of unfounded fears that we already get plenty of it and that it’s easy to overdose. Both are false assumptions. Preformed Vitamin A is only found in animal fats. Vitamin A precursors are found in abundance in vegetables like carrots as carotenoids, but those are not readily converted to Vitamin A as easily as most people believe. So Vitamin A deficiency is more common than most people think. The best sources of Vitamin A – butter, egg yolks, liver etc have been unfairly demonized, so more people suffer from inadequate Vitamin A than it commonly believed. If you’re pregnant, start eating these three things.

Having said that, yes, you can overdose on Vitamin A…but that only happens if you take too much Vitamin A supplements or eat liver three times a day. For the past few years, I’ve been eating 3 eggs a day, usually cooked in butter. And I eat liver a couple of times a week. I’m nowhere near overdosing! Excess Vitamin A has been associated with birth defects…but there are no clear definitions of what is ‘too much.’

Yes, Doctors Best is a pretty reliable brand but check with your OB/GYN first. During pregnancy, this goes without saying!

Remember that you are better off getting all nutrients, including Vitamin A and Omega-3 from food than supplements. If you don’t consume enough butter, dairy fats, eggs, seafood, liver etc., AND your prenatal does not have Vitamin A, then getting too much is not the problem, but too little.

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Bob January 26, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Hi again,

What’s your opinion on the supplementation of Choline with DHA. I had read something that said Choline might help with the absorption of DHA. That led me down a path of of Choline research, and I found quite a few people who praise it’s benefits and results, seemingly more than DHA (though they still supplement fish oil).

Thanks!

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Vin Kutty January 26, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Hi Bob – choline is important! Get it from egg yolks, not supplements. Same goes for fish and Omega-3. In krill oil, DHA comes bound with phospholipids like choline. This makes krill oil slightly better absorbed and it also gives you some phospholipids. But taking DHA and choline separately won’t have the same benefit because the choline is not bonded to the DHA, even though both are independently good for you. I wouldn’t run out and buy krill oil because there is very little DHA in krill oil.

I don’t supplement with choline, but I make it a point to eat at least half egg yolks every week. FYI – there is NOT A SINGLE STUDY that conclusively proves that eggs cause any harm – that’s bogus research from the 1970s. But there is a lot of science that proves eggs contains a LOT of nutrients. Eggs and liver are the closest things to multivitamins in nature. Get it from food!

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Suzanne February 12, 2014 at 6:11 am

Hello Vin,
Great article, so great that I’ve shared it with friends! Congratulations on your twins, they must be getting big! I’m 5 weeks pregnant and upon reading this have bought and started taking (1)OmegaVia as part of my daily routine, in addition to liquid cod liver oil and prenatal pack with 2 pills, one of which is a fish oil pill (Nestabs DHA- 230 mg and EPA 30 mg). I would like to get more DHA, and I looked into Carlson’s Super Gems DHA, but I’ve read reviews that claim that they’re not GMO free. So, my question is; do you know if they are or are not GMO Free and, if not is there another brand that you currently recommend?
Thank you in advance for your time.
Suzanne

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Vin Kutty February 12, 2014 at 7:17 pm

Hi Suzanne – congratulations on your pregnancy! Yes, our twins are big – they’re in school. They grow up so fast.

Go glad to see you taking charge. Look into Chris Kresser’s Healthy Baby Code – very good stuff. What you eat now will affect your child’s health 20, 30 or 50 years from now. Yes, that’s true. So go easy on sodas, sugars, juices etc. And go crazy on veggies, meats, eggs, seafood and traditional fats like grass-fed butter. Do not avoid seafood due to mercury fears!

I don’t think Carlsons is GMO-free based on my conversation with them during my wife’s pregnancy.

You could always try Nordic Naturals: https://www.nordicnaturals.com/en/Products/Product_Details/514/?ProdID=1413 but I think you’re covered for DHA needs until your last trimester and during breast feeding.

Take care.

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Sandy April 12, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Hi Vin,

I am in Malaysia and my gynae recommended Neurogain (brand for pregnant ladies) which only has 90mg of DHA & 12mg of EPA; taken twice daily.

However I have Kordel Omega3 brand of Fish Oil that contains 120mg of DHA & 180mg of EPA that I take daily now. My other pregnant friends do not recommend that I tried other brand (Kordel) but to take the Neurogain but I think it is too low.

Have you heard of Kordel and is it safe to take for pregnant ladies (it is molecularly distilled & sources from small fish)?

How much should I increase my intake (I cant find the brand that you recommended here). I am at week 22 now. The pharmacist told me to stop taking it at the last 2 months before delivery.

Thanks and I will appreciate your advice!

Sandy.

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Vin Kutty April 12, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Hi Sandy – I am neither qualified nor authorized to overrule your OB/GYN. Having said that, getting only 90 mg of DHA per day is better than nothing but it is about 10% of what you should be taking during the last few months of pregnancy. DHA needs during the first and second trimesters are minor compared to how much the baby needs during the third trimester. So for your pharmacist to say that you should stop taking DHA 2 months prior to delivery is not just wrong but dangerous to your baby’s proper brain and eye development.

I’ve not heard of either of the brands you mention, but check with your OB about increasing your DHA to at least 500 mg per day.

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Sandy April 13, 2014 at 4:45 am

Thanks Vin for your prompt response. I think my gynae does not really believes in taking supplements; as she pointed out once that during ‘her times’, they don’t even take any multivitamin and the kids all turn out ‘okay’. I will increase the intake of the DHA during my 3rd trimester.Thanks again!

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Vin Kutty April 13, 2014 at 5:14 pm

Hi Sandy – your doctor has a good point – nobody NEEDS supplements, given we’re eating a good diet. Most people don’t have a bad diet. A few people eat a good diet. Nobody I know eats a perfect diet. My suggestion is to fix your diet – then make up for some of the shortfalls with supplements. Unless you’re eating a lot of seafood and eggs, I doubt you’re getting enough DHA during your pregnancy.

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Elizabeth Beetle May 5, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Hi Vin,
I have been taking Carlsons liquid fish oil while pregnant, and feel kind of worried I might have hurt our baby. I am 7 weeks pregnant. I thought I was doing a good thing but realized the ratios are different in fish oil then in real fish. I saw something about it causing miscarriages and was just worried that I did something really bad to the developing baby. The ratio is 500 dha and 800 dha for one teaspoon.

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Vin Kutty May 9, 2014 at 5:14 pm

Hi Elizabeth – what does your OB/GYN think about you taking this product? All fish have slightly different rations of EPA and DHA – that’s normal. The ratio of 500 mg DHA and 800 mg of EPA is perfectly fine – absolutely nothing wrong with that. You are absolutely doing a good thing by taking fish oil during pregnancy – I’d be worried if you DIDN’T take Omega-3 because your baby (and you!) desperately need it during this critical time. In the meantime, stay away from the internet! If you’re prone to worry and anxiety, this is a bad place.

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Kate May 24, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Can I take rx strength lovaza over drugstore EPA and dha omega supplements?

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Vin Kutty May 25, 2014 at 1:39 am

Hi Kate – yes, if you’re taking a lower than recommended dose of Lovaza. If you’re at 4 capsules of Lovaza per day, you don’t need more Omega-3 from the drugstore.

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Elizabeth Beetle May 26, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Hi Vin,
Thank you much for your message. Unfortunately I miscarried this one, my first pregnancy, two days ago. For next time I will definitely take your advice as others have told me the same about staying off of certain places on the internet. Next pregnancy I will take the fish oil without concern. I had stopped for a week and got on the Carlson DHA gems and was taking one a day and was going to increase it to two for the second or third trimester. Thanks much for your help. It is much appreciated !

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Vin Kutty May 26, 2014 at 5:40 pm

Hi Elizabeth – I am so sorry!

I can’t imagine the thoughts and emotions you’re going through, but please try not to blame yourself or have ‘if only I…’ type thooughts. I know that’s easier said that done.

When things calm down and if you decide to try again, please look into Chris Kresser’s Healthy Baby Code.

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Elizabeth Beetle May 26, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Also, My OB did tell me that fish oil is perfectly fine and perfectly safe to take during pregnancy and said better then eating fish because of the mercury, since fish oil is purified. I asked you about the fish oil first because they wouldnt see me until eight weeks.

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magda May 29, 2014 at 9:48 pm

hello I live in uk and ive got a question about Nordic naturals. ive been on medications for anxiety since 2006. Gonna come off my medictions prior to pregnancy and want to increase my epa intake. is it ok to take “epa extra” with 1060mg of epa and 274mg of dha and “prenatal dha” with 400IU of vit D and 450mg of dha? My main concern is “epa extra” because of the vitamin E (30IU). Thank you

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Vin Kutty May 30, 2014 at 3:34 am

Hi Magda – my answer is yes, you can definitely take the EPA extra and the prenatal DHA together. There is no known risk associated with 30 IU of Vitamin E. Remember that Vitamin E is an important and needed nutrient for survival. It is an essential nutrient and unless you’re eating a near perfect diet, you may not be getting enough Vit E. But…since you’re thinking of pregnancy, please check with your doctor on all matters.

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Rach July 6, 2014 at 8:26 am

Hi Vin,

I am in the ‘trying to conceive’ phase. I read you article and learnt that Nature Made Folic Acid has very low content of DHA.. But is it ok to take that in the TTC phase and increase once I conceive?
Also would appreciate if you can tell me the ideal dosage of DHA / Fatty Acids to be taken during pregnancy.
My first pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage (at 6 month) for which reason was unknown. I wasnt taking any Omega 3 in my first pregnancy so second time want to make sure i take all essentials nutrients required.
Thanks in advance..

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Vin Kutty, MS July 6, 2014 at 11:13 am

Hi Rach – skip the NatureMade product. You need FOLATE, not Folic Acid. There is a difference. Buy one of these: http://www.iherb.com/5-MTHF-Folate-5-Methyl-Tetrahydrofolate

Aim for 500 mg of DHA now. Double it once you get pregnant. Download Chris Kresser’s Healthy Baby Code. Work on your diet. Cut out sugar. Reduce grains. Eat more seafood. Eat leafy green veggies. Did I mention ‘Work on your diet’?

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Carolyn Rocha Izquierdo July 7, 2014 at 3:19 am

I followed your advice and took carlsons fish oil throughout my entire pregnancy. My Nicolas was born in October. He’s a Healthy baby boy, sleeps well and is amazing. Thank you!!! Since you helped me the first time i wanted to know if you know of any supplement or even taking fish oil for de quarvains syndrome tendinitis? I got it one month after giving birth. I’ve tried everything (cortisone, therapy, ice, not using my hand, splint) and it won’t go away. I’m still taking first oil two pills and I’ve added glucosamine. Would you know. My last resort is surgery and I don’t want surgery.

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Vin Kutty, MS July 7, 2014 at 7:08 am

Hi Carolyn – congratulations! Glad to hear about your baby boy, but sorry about your wrists! I imagine it takes some of the joy out of being a new mother. I don’t know if more fish oil will help since the condition is not related to inflammation. It sounds like you’re doing everything you can…

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Melanie July 14, 2014 at 6:55 am

Hi Vin!
I’m so glad to have stumbled upon your blog. I’ve learned so much! I’m 7 months pregnant with my 2nd child and have been researching fish oil. I’ve held off on taking any, as I’m on Lovenox, a blood thinner. I took fish oil at the beginning of my 1st pregnancy and stopped once on the blood thinner due to the warning label and my OB’s advice. I’ve since got the go ahead to take the fish oil from my hematologist and from what I’ve read it doesn’t seem like an issue. I’m going to check with my OB this week as well.

I was wondering if you were familiar with EuroMedica’s EurOmega-3? Two tablets contain 584mg of Omega-3 phospholipid peptide complex, but it does not break down the EPA and DHA (only states a balanced ratio). To me it doesn’t sound like enough unless I take around 6 of them, but I didn’t know if these were more potent as they are supposed to be more easily absorbed.

Should I just stick with 2-3 of the Carlson’s DHA super gems? There is also Now Foods DHA 500 which has 250 EPA, a bit higher than the EPA in the Carlson’s. Not sure if this is a good brand though. Ideally, I’d like to get more EPA, but I don’t want to buy separate pills. I’ve considered getting a liquid fish oil so I can have the best of both, either Nordic Naturals or Carlson’s but I plan on taking a bunch of short trips this summer and portability of the liquid fish oil would be an issue. Sorry for being so long winded. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Thank you!

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Vin Kutty, MS July 14, 2014 at 11:47 pm

Hi Melanie – I am shocked that your OB let you go this long without making you take fish oil or DHA. You’re over-thinking this. When it comes to pregnancy, don’t worry about phospholipid or peptide or ratios. Just get a lot of DHA. And please…DO IT NOW! This is the stage when the baby’s brains and eyes are growing leaps and bounds and need DHA the most. I suggest you take 1000 mg of DHA per day. Carlsons is fine.

Please read this and talk to your doctor about your blood thinner: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.in/2009/11/malocclusion-disease-of-civilization.html

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Daphne July 14, 2014 at 11:32 pm

Thanks for your info! I am 47, and 13 weeks pregnant with a donor egg ivf. for the first time (single, not twins). I have been taking 2 OmegaVia pills a day, a prenatal, a calcium/vit. d supplement, and a baby aspirin. Am going to stop the aspirin, start taking magnesium (I have v. bad insomnia) and take nordic naturals dha., and am considering adding in Omega epa. My question is why continue with Omega Via if I am getting my DHA and EPA elsewhere? Also concerned about calcium/ magnesium ratios. Thanks!

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Vin Kutty, MS July 14, 2014 at 11:40 pm

Hi Daphne – during pregnancy, as long as you’re getting enough DHA and EPA, and you’re happy with the quality, it does not matter a whole lot which brand you are getting it from. OmegaVia comes in handy when you need high doses of Omega-3. If you’re getting about 600 mg of Calcium and 400 to 600 mg of Magnesium (in any form other than oxide) you should be OK. Assume you’re getting some Vitamin K2 or eating lots of cheese. Get Chris Kresser’s healthy baby code.

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Tina September 7, 2014 at 9:31 am

Hi Vin!
I’m so glad I’ve come accross you blog…I had no idea how important dha is during pregnancy! I’m finally pregnant after trying IVF for a long time. I’m now 9 weeks pregnant with twins. Being taking vitamin d, folate and krill oil. I just ordered carlson super dha gems…will take your recommended dose. The question I have is should I stop the krill oil when taking carlson super dha? Or can I take both together?
During my IVF cycle, I also took Co-Enzyme Q10 which I also have continued. Should I stop taking that as well when taking dha?
Many thanks.

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Vin Kutty, MS September 7, 2014 at 7:55 pm

Hi Tina – congratulations! As a parent of twins, you’re in for bouncy ride! Buckle up!

Yes, DHA is very critical during pregnancy. Please look into Chris Kresser’s Healthy Baby Code – it is worth every penny. Talk to your doctor about taking magnesium as well. It’s important during pregnancy and most people are deficient. You don’t need to stop taking the krill oil – it has some healthy phospholipids and astaxanthin. The phospholipids are great for babies’ brain development. No harm in taking CoQ10 but you dont need to take it now.

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Agatha September 9, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Hello. Is that ok to take EPA elite nordic naturals (1660 mg of EPA) with Separate Dha 500mg (nordic naturals as well) during pregnancy ? It’s 4 capsules a day. Been suffering from depression for last few years so I know more EPA is very important. Just a bit worried about not taking too much. I want to as well increase my dha up to 900mg in my third trimester. Should I also increase EPA and stay on 1660mg a day?! Thank you. Great blog.

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Vin Kutty, MS September 9, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Hi Agatha – yes you can take both products together without any issues. Since you are/may be pregnant, please check with your doctor first. I would go with two pills of each product if your doctor says it is OK.

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Autumn chokshi September 12, 2014 at 12:16 am

Do you think Nature Made Fish Oil is safe to take while pregnant?

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Vin Kutty, MS September 12, 2014 at 12:19 am

Hi Autumn – yes. If you’re pregnant, make sure you get about 900 to 1000 mg DHA…ESPECIALLY during the third trimester. Of course, you need EPA too. The baby’s not the only one with Omega-3 needs.

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anu September 22, 2014 at 4:21 am

can i take omegavia fish oil gems without meal,can i take it with only a cup of tea.

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Vin Kutty, MS September 22, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Hi Anu – you should always take OmegaVia (and most other fish oil supplements) with a large meal.

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Mona September 25, 2014 at 11:07 am

Hi Vin,

I am now at week 15 in my first pregnancy. In the UK the best prenatal vitamin advertised in the market is (Pregnacare plus) which I am currently taking in addition to Omega 3 capsules providing (DHA 300mg , EPA 60) per capsule.
The nutritional information is found here: http://www.vitabiotics.com/pregnacare/plus/

In addition to Prenatal vitamin and the Omega3 capsules that I take daily I am taking calcium with D3 twice daily – each dose provides (600mg calcium-but my knowledge is the body absorbs 500mg at a time – and 10 micrograms vit D3 or 400IU)
I also started taking in the second trimester Floradix Iron supplement after reading lots of good reviews about it. 10ml twice daily which provides 15mg of elemental iron.

After I was lucky to find your blog and read everything I noticed that what I am already taking is very low considering that I have a very poor diet. I will summarise my current intakes of vitamins and minerals and what I am considering to buy after I read your blogs. Please let me know if the ratios are fine.

Current levels:

Iron : Iron from Prenatal (17mg) + Floradix (15mg) = 32 mg

Vitamin D3: D3 from Prenatal (400IU) + Vitamin D3 that comes with calcium supplement (800IU)= 1200 IU

Calcium: Calcium from Prenatal (0) + Calcium supplement (1000mg) = 1000mg

Omega3 from Prenatal 1 capsule daily: (DHA 300mg + EPA 60)

Magnesium from Prenatal (150mg)

Looking at the above I notice that the levels of my Vitamin D3, Omega3 and Magnesium may need to be increased.

Is it OK to take Vitamin D3 supplements (5000IU) in addition to the Vitamin D3 in both of calcium supplement and prenatal vitamin (1200IU)? That will be a total of 6200 IU daily

Regarding Omega 3 I am inclined to buy Nordic Naturals DHA 1000 . As this is what you have recommended. If I need to increase my EPA because of depression do I need to buy a seperate product or is there one product providing high DHA and high EPA for depression. Will the high DHA cancel the benefits of high EPA if taken together. In the instance where the unopposed EPA is small. Will the high DHA supplement need to be taken at a different time from the EPA supplement for them to work.??? I am a bit confused here.

Regarding Magnesium in prenatal 150mg is very low. Do I need to increase to 400mg. You also recommend I buy Natural Calm? Jigsaw is not available in the UK.

Do you think the new ratios of Vitamin D3 to Calcium to Magnesium are fine (6200IU , 1000mg, 400mg) I also read that these vitamins/minerals all work together with K2 vitamin that I should be taking from food mainly cheeses as it is not recommended for pregnant women to supplement on it.

Finally, is 32mg of iron enough? or you think increasing the level will benefit me?

Thanks for taking the time to read my queries and answer them.

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Vin Kutty, MS September 25, 2014 at 11:26 pm

Hi Mona – the only thing I remember from your long comment is ‘I have a very poor diet.’ This disturbs the hell out of me. Sorry.

There is NO WAY you can outrun a bad diet with supplements. Especially when you’re pregnant. What you eat when you’re pregnant can affect your GRAND CHILDREN’S health and genetics. There are multi-generational effects to what you eat (and do) during your pregnancy. That is how important your diet is right now. Start eating eggs, seafood, grass-fed butter, cheese, liver, lots and lots of green and leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, and plenty of roots and tubers. Please talk to a dietitian. As far as your supplements, iron could be lower. D should not be 6200 IU. Magnesium and Omegas could be higher. Don’t worry about EPA or DHA. Just take more of both.

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Meg September 26, 2014 at 1:56 am

Hi sir I’m so confused with epa dha ratio in pregnant and lactation… What is the best recommended EPA DHA content should I take? Is it safe to take EPA 330mg and DHA 220mg or should I get more? What about the bleeding issue in EPA? I’m in my 2nd trimester… Any clinical study to prove.. I would love to hear from you.. Thank you in advance I love reading your blogs

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Vin Kutty, MS September 26, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Hi Meg – you are over-thinking this. Get 900 to 1000 mg of DHA, especially by the time you’re in your third trimester. In your first and second trimesters, you can make do with a little less. Don’t worry about ratios. As they say, just do it!

Of course, if you happen to take more EPA in addition to the 1000 mg of DHA, that’s great. There is no proven risk of bleeding with EPA, let alone at doses you’re talking about. Still, talk to your OB about what you’re taking. More here: http://www.omegavia.com/fish-oil-bleeding-risk/

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Lammy September 27, 2014 at 8:16 am

Hi Vin,
I’m 4 weeks pregnant. I found the prenatal called healthy mama be well rounded. The DHA is 450 mg in there. Do you think this is a good prenatal? Should I take more omega-3 now or I need to consult my OB first before I take any supplement? Because I heard that you have to tell your doctor any supplement you take besides prenatal.
Thank you for your time.

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Vin Kutty, MS September 27, 2014 at 7:17 pm

Hi Lammy – this product has 450 mg of Omega-3. It’s NOT 450 mg of DHA. It could be regular ol fish oil that’s being passed off as a prenatal product. They do not say how much DHA is in there. To me, this is totally unacceptable in a prenatal formula. There are two things I expect to easily see in a prenatal Omega-3: 1) does it have DHA? and 2) how much DHA does it have?

Pregnant women need to know how much DHA they are taking.

Should you take more Omega-3? Yes. Talk to your OB and get 900 – 1000 mg DHA during your third trimester. A little less is fine for the first two trimesters.

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anu September 28, 2014 at 6:47 am

can i put my omegavia fish oil capsules in the cupboard after opening the bottle.i do not have refrigerator.

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Vin Kutty, MS September 28, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Yes.

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Dima October 24, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Hi, is it necessary to take dha, and omega 3 capsules from two different sources, please explain why?

Like the omega via fish oil
And the Nordic naturals dha

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Vin Kutty, MS October 24, 2014 at 10:01 pm

Hi Dima – no, you don’t need two sources at all. If you’re pregnant, just make sure you’re getting a lot of DHA and some EPA.

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Dima October 24, 2014 at 11:28 pm

From what I remember it think you mentioned that your wife took both during her pregnancy with the twins? No
Yes I’m 5 weeks pregnant
I wanted to get myself started with the right prenatal vitamins and dha supplements.

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Vin Kutty, MS November 3, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Hi Dima – yes, she did. She got plenty of DHA, but I wanted her to get EPA as well to reduce inflammation and serve other functions.

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Jasmine October 27, 2014 at 10:40 am

Hi, could it be possible that eating DHA makes fetus’s BPD bigger than normal, which causes difficulty during delivery? Thanks!

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Vin Kutty, MS November 3, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Hi Jasmine – no. Your baby’s head size will NOT swell to unusual proportions if you take DHA during pregnancy.

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sue November 8, 2014 at 8:03 pm

hello,
Just stumbled upon. Your website and found it extremely informative! My daughter is 4 weeks pregnant with PCOS. She is suffering from extreme anxiety right now. She has been taking a prenatal for a year now and calcium +D3 (Wallgreens brand). She read online that there was lead associated with the Wallgreens brand and is having an extreme anxiety attack! Can you tell me if you think this is true and if it would have caused any damage to the baby already? She does not eat Dairy (she was a Vegan) but has added chicken, fish and eggs into her diet.
Thanks so much!

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Vin Kutty, MS November 9, 2014 at 12:31 am

Hi Sue – get a copy of Chris Kresser’s Healthy Baby Code. Read it thoroughly. Quickly. Make some big dietary changes quickly. Talk to a professional dietitian – google ‘Paleo dietitian’ and talk to one of the certified ones. There are quite a few nutrients that I’d rank higher than calcium in terms of importance during pregnancy…mostly because calcium is not difficult to get if you eat a good diet planned by a dietitian. SO GLAD to hear that she’s added chicken, fish and eggs into her diet. She is likely deficient in a few nutrients and needs to get them addressed quickly. Pregnancy is not the time to go on a vegan diet. Others disagree, but I feel very strongly about this. You should also know that anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications during pregnancy can add a lot of risk to the baby’s health. I would tackle this from a diet and lifestyle perspective first. Mention to the dietitian that she has PCOS. I am not a fan of any of the prenatals, but this one is somewhat better than most: http://www.amazon.com/Garden-Life-Prenatal-Multivitamin-Capsules/dp/B005JAT3TU/ it is still very low in magnesium and she may need to supplement with Natural Calm (magnesium supplement.)

Toss the Walgreens crap. Talk to a dietitian. Get Healthy Baby Code. Fix her diet NOW!! Get Natural Calm. More veggies. More eggs yolk. More seafood. More Omega-3. Chicken liver if she’ll handle it. Grass-fed butter. Cut out sugar, soy, packaged and process foods. Cut out most things that come in packages, cans, or food products that have a UPC code. ONLY eat stuff that was alive a few days ago.

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Marky November 9, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Hi Vin,

I’m so happy I found your blog.
My wife is 7 weeks pregnant now and she’s taking a supplement manufactured by Nature’s Way with the following content:
Fish Oil (Sardines, Tuna) – 1,000mg
Omega-3 Fatty Acids – 700mg
DHA – 500mg
EPA – 200mg
Vitamin E (as d- alpha tocopherol) 10IU
She’s taking 1 softgel a day.

A Doctor of the Distributing Company here in the Philippines said that this supplement should only be taken until 37th week of pregnancy because of the blood thinning effect of the supplement.
Some also said to stop taking this when 6th month pregnant because this will make the baby large and will cause difficulty in delivery.

Please enlighten me up about this. It’s our first baby and I want to make sure my wife and baby will get the needed nutrients.

Thank you so much.. and hope to hear from you.

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Vin Kutty, MS November 9, 2014 at 6:57 pm

Hi Marky – your wife’s Omega routine is fine. Even though there is no clear evidence of Omega-3 producing blood thinning effects at these levels, I would go with your doctor’s advice.

It is a VERY BAD idea to stop taking Omega-3 at 6 months because the last three months are when the baby needs Omega-3 the most. There is ABSOLUTELY NO PROOF that taking Omega-3 will make the baby too large. If that were the case, our twins should have been born with watermelon-sized heads. This is a myth and is utter nonsense. Do not stop taking Omega-3 at 6 months! I usually tell people to double their Omega-3 intake after 6 months.

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VAISHALI NAIK November 16, 2014 at 4:05 pm

I am 14 weeks pregnant now, my age as on 20th Sept’ 2014 is 38 years. I have multiple Fibroid one measuring 51×41 mm and a new one that is developed towards the Anterior Wall measuring 46×35 mm noted during my recent scan. What should be my Omega 3 content intake either from Tablets/Capsules and various forms of food that would boost Omega 3 Fatty acids? also I request you to please provide me a healthy diet chart for reducing my Fibroid.
Regards
Vaishali

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Vin Kutty, MS November 17, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Hi Vaishali – I suggest you work with your doctor and his/her dietitian on addressing the fibroid issue. For your pregnancy, I suggest you get about 500 mg Omega-3 DHA now and as you get to the third trimester, aim for at least 900 or 1000 mg of DHA. If the fish oil products you find have both DHA and EPA, that’s fine. Focus on the amount of DHA, which is what your developing baby needs for proper growth. Also, eat a lot of egg yolks (at least 2 per day) – there are many essential nutrients in yolks that you and your developing baby need.

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sumana November 28, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Hi Vin… I had 2 miscarriage earlier due to which during 3rd pregnancy doctor gave Ecosprin a blood thinner to consume daily along with Deltheparin injection daily till end of pregnancy. I finally have a baby boy now. Now that I am in 11th week of pregnancy , doctor having looked at my history told me to continue with Ecosprin till end of pregnancy. Since I was now thinking to have fish oil supplement , I am worried that Ecosprin n fish oil both vl act as double dose for blood thinning. So how ideal would it be to consume fish oil daily as my diet habit is not good due to vomiting.

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Vin Kutty, MS November 28, 2014 at 6:18 pm

Hi sumana – regardless of blood thinning drugs, vomiting etc., you still need a lot of DHA during the pregnancy. DO NOT AVOID DHA during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about making sure you have adequate levels of DHA in your prenatal. I think not taking DHA would be a bigger risk than taking it, particularly for your babies brain and eye development. But do this with careful medical supervision. More here: http://www.omegavia.com/fish-oil-bleeding-risk/

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sumana December 1, 2014 at 11:25 am

Many thanks for your suggestion. I would make sure to check with my gyni.. Have a good day… :)

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Kate December 10, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Hello Is taking 800mg of Epa and 500 of dha (carlson very finest fish oil) during pregnancy enough for someone suffering from anxiety and depression? Or should I increase Epa intake? Thank you

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Vin Kutty, MS December 11, 2014 at 12:23 am

Hi Kate – your dosage is fine, but you could double it once you approach your third trimester. Make sure your magnesium intake is adequate. Of course, talk to your doctor about this. This would be a VERY bad time to begin taking anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications. Do whatever you can with diet and lifestyle changes to address the mood issues.

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Maria December 11, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Hi, I’m expecting triplets and I was reading this blog about fish oil.. I’m 17 weeks pregnant and I’ve been only taking 1 dose of 1000mg of fish oil soft capsule. I have a question, if your wife was taking this dose for her twins, should I be taking 3 OmegaVia Pills and 3 Carlsons Super DHA?
Two OmegaVia pills = 2210 mg Omega-3 (520 mg DHA)
Two Carlsons Super DHA Gems = 1000 mg DHA
Thanks for your great blog!

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Vin Kutty, MS December 11, 2014 at 7:24 pm

Hi Maria – first, congratulations!!! You should be taking more of everything, not just Omega-3. Please work with a dietitian and get your diet fixed. In the meantime, I suggest eating 2-3 eggs per day and lots of vegetables. Reduce sugar and grains. Substitute root vegetables for grains. You dont have to take OmegaVia or Carlsons – just aim for 2000 to 3000 mg of Omega-3 with a large portion of it being DHA. Read the bottom part of the blog with suggestions for other nutrients often missing from diets.

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Maria December 11, 2014 at 8:30 pm

Thank you so much for your quick reply! I will do so starting today!

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Vin Kutty September 3, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Hi Maima – 45 IU of Vitamin E will not be an overdose. Frankly, I think it is too low. Most common Vitamin E dose is 400 IU.

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