The case for and against release of a new pregnancy supplement containing Omega 3 fatty acids to reduce risk of preterm birth: Evaluation and recommendations.

You have been employed as a nutrition consultant by a company that is interested in releasing a new supplement for use in pregnancy. The supplement is intended to contain Omega 3 fatty acids with the dose being approx. 750-1000mg omega 3. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids and can be obtained through dietary intake. However, are pregnant women able to obtain sufficient quantities of omega 3? Should this supplement be released? Are there likely to be any adverse effects with supplementing in this way and will it be useful in reducing rates of preterm birth in Australia?
There is some clinical evidence that omega 3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of preterm birth (babies being born before 37 weeks of completed pregnancy) however whether pregnant women would benefit from taking a targeted supplement of omega 3 during pregnancy aimed specifically at reducing the risk of preterm birth remains a contentious issue.
The supplement company has proposed that this pregnancy supplement (which would contain approx. 750-1000mg omega 3 (EPA and DHA)) could be an important marketing differential from other products made by other companies that are not formulated in this way. It is aimed specifically at reducing preterm birth and would be marketed in such a way.
As the nutrition consultant, you are required to present a 2000 word written report outlining your evidenced based opinion and recommendation to the company addressing if they should or shouldn’t release this new supplement for intended use by pregnant women to reduce preterm birth risk.
Format requirements
Your written report can be submitted in either a Word
Word count: 2000 Words
Please use Vancouver style for referencing the articles in the written report. Almost all the references for your report should be coming from peer-reviewed scientific studies. You should not use websites as references. (16 references minimum). It is strongly encouraged that you use the most up to date research to support your argument. Published research during the last 5 years would be useful.
Assignment content
The following points need to be covered at some stage in your written report:
1. Briefly define and differentiate omega 3 fatty acids from other classes of fats and outline key dietary sources of omega 3 fats. What are the key established benefits of PUFAs in pregnancy in relation to normal fetal growth and development and optimal health of the fetus? You should outline briefly the key benefits in relation to fetal health and development.
2. Outline the weight of scientific evidence for a clinical benefit of supplementation compared to not using this supplement.
For this part, you need to take into account both positive studies (studies that show a benefit) and negative research (studies that didn’t show a benefit and/ or that may have shown adverse outcomes or dangerous side effects) and use the literature to develop an argument to inform your recommendation.
You would need at least 6 studies for each side of the argument. Please also add a summary table of the studies reviewed in this section (not included in word count).
You may draw on combined results from systematic reviews of the evidence but a systematic review would be considered one reference and this should be in addition to the 4 individual studies.
You will need to consider if supplementation is effective or not effective in reducing preterm birth. There will be studies supporting both sides of the argument so make sure you present a balanced synthesis of the literature. Overall you will need to make a strong case for your own recommendation.
3. Include a brief summary/final recommendation to the company which is supported by the evidence you presented in your report. As a nutrition professional you should be able to give a direct and clear recommendation.
Please note:
This assignment is about comparing the merits of releasing the proposed supplement, versus not supplementing with omega 3 in pregnancy.
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