The OPAL-3 Study

Determining the Optimal Dose of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Pregnancy for Women with Moderate Status

The OPAL-3 Study
Project Status: Recruiting
Project administered by: SAHMRI

Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) are found in fish and fish oils and are thought to have several health benefits including maintaining a pregnancy to full term (>37 weeks).

Previous studies have shown that women who are low in omega-3 fatty acids are at increased risk of having a premature baby.

This risk can be reduced by taking an omega-3 supplement containing DHA and EPA. Studies have also shown that women who have sufficient levels of omega-3 fatty acids have a lower risk of giving birth to a premature baby and do not need to take supplements.

What is not clear from the research is the best advice to provide women with moderate omega-3 levels.

The aim of the OPAL-3 study is to work out the dose of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) needed to best match the fatty acid levels of women who are sufficient in omega-3 fatty acids.

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Who can take part?

Pregnant women who:

  • Are less than 21 weeks gestation
  • Are having one baby, and
  • Have had, or will have, their omega-3 levels tested in early pregnancy

Women with Low and Sufficient omega-3 levels are also eligible to take part. These women will not be supplemented with study supplements. They will continue following the advice of the Omega-3 Test-and-Treat Program.

What does the study involve?

Participants with moderate omega-3 levels will be randomly assigned (like tossing a coin) to receive one of four groups of study supplements.

  • Group 1: No DHA, No EPA (control capsules)
  • Group 2: 200mg DHA, 25mg EPA
  • Group 3: 400mg DHA, 50mg EPA
  • Group 4: 800mg DHA, 100mg EPA

Participants will be asked to take four study supplements per day from enrolment until 37 weeks pregnant, or the delivery of your baby (whichever occurs first). Participants may continue any other supplements they are currently taking.

Are you interested in taking part?

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If you're a healthcare professional interested in referring patients for this study, please complete this form

This project is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council and Nestlé Nutrition Institute

This study has been reviewed and approved by Women's and Children's Health Network (WCHN) Ethics Committee #2024/HRE00064