What is the recommended level of supplementation during pregnancy?

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Dear MD,

The task force that met in Bethesda, Maryland at the NIH in 1999 (represented by invited experts in the omega-3 health area from various countries) recommended a daily intake of 300 mg of DHA during pregnancy. Since our published research (Denomme et al., J. Nutr. 135: 206-211 (2005)) indicated that the average pregnant woman is consuming approximately 80 mg DHA per day in her regular diet on average, a gap of approximately 240 mg of DHA apparently exists which would need to be filled to meet the 300 mg per day target. This gap can be filled by appropriate pre-natal supplements containing DHA , appropriate sources of seafood/fish (excluding those which are considered inappropriate during pregnancy such as swordfish, shark, and a few other), or by consuming functional foods containing DHA as an added component. It is noted that a considerable proportion of pregnant women in Japan have daily average intakes of DHA ranging from 300-800 mg per day.