For pregnant women, the current advice is to keep eating fish but to limit the intakes of orange roughy (Sea Perch), catfish shark, swordfish, marlin or broadbill to once a week or fortnight for the purposes of avoiding contaminants that may be damaging to the sensitive developing foetus. The net outcome of this communiqué may result in fewer women of childbearing age, those who are pregnant or those who wish to become pregnant from consuming fish or consuming inadequate amounts. It is highly important that this key group of consumers receive enough seafood to ensure that the developing foetus obtains adequate levels of DHA.
Therefore, this proposal targets a need in women of child bearing age, to determine if a diet high in DHA (providing an average of at least 200mg/d) obtained from Australian whole seafood (2-4 serves a week) can improve health-related outcomes (plasma phospholipid n-3 concentrations, inflammatory markers, insulin sensitivity, mood) when compared to a 6-week low DHA diet (30 mg/d) and will the diet be at an acceptable cost and without providing adverse levels of methyl mercury and PCBs.
Consumers are advised to eat more fish for a range of health benefits, including for growth and development, protection against heart disease and lowering of plasma triglycerides. However, there are some caveats in these recommendations for some sub-groups of the population, such as those women who are pregnant or who wish to become pregnant. This in general relates to the level of methylmercury present in fish. In Australia, the current dietary advice from Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) for pregnant women is that 2-3 serves of most fish can be safely eaten each week, but to limit the intakes of orange roughy (Sea Perch), catfish shark, swordfish, marlin or broadbill to once a week or fortnight for the purposes of avoiding contaminants that may be damaging to the sensitive developing foetus.